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January 9, 2006

Why Alito must be stopped

From a fine Kuttner op-ed in the Boston Globe

AT THIS moment in American history, it would be hard to find a worse Supreme Court nominee than Samuel A. Alito Jr. His ideology captures everything extremist about the Bush administration. If confirmed, Alito would serve as Bush’s enabler. He would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government and the hard-right long-term dominance of the high court. His confirmation or rejection will depend on the gumption of the Senate Democratic leadership and independence of a few Republicans.
Alito, who would replace the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, has never hidden his ultra-conservative views. Given the administration claims of an extra-legal presidency, what’s most disturbing is the handy convergence of Alito’s own conception of executive power and that of Bush.
… [I]n a speech to the Federalist Society in November 2000, while a sitting appellate judge, Alito claimed almost limitless powers for the presidency and criticized other courts for limiting executive power. ‘‘The president has not just some executive power,” he declared, ‘‘but the executive power – the whole thing.”
… With the Bush administration running roughshod over individual rights, Alito has tended to support prosecutors and corporations over individual citizens and employees, in cases involving civil liberties, civil rights, workplace rights, and reproductive freedom. In 1985, he wrote that he thought the Constitution ‘‘does not protect the right to an abortion,” flatly contradicting Roe v. Wade. And with corruption scandals festering in Washington, Alito conveniently forgot his pledge to recuse himself from cases in which he had a personal financial interest.

But Alito can be stopped, if the Dems ever manage to find their spine:

Blocking Alito would take a filibuster supported by at least 41 senators. Though the Democrats have 45 senators (counting independent Bernie Sanders), the Senate Democratic leadership frets that a filibuster would divert attention from other Republican woes, might make Democrats look obstructionist, and might lead Republicans to use the so-called ‘‘nuclear option,” abolishing filibusters on judicial nominations.
Yet, in their weakened condition, it’s not clear that Republicans could muster the votes to go nuclear. Moderate Senate Republicans may just welcome a chance to distance themselves from Bush’s extremism – if Democrats lead. Alito epitomizes everything dangerous about George W. Bush. Unlike Bush, he would not be gone in three years. With some leadership and profiles in courage, we may yet be spared an extremist high court.

More on Alito’s record here and here.

Posted by Stephen at 11:17 AM in Legal issues | Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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SANDERS IS A REPRESENTATIVE, NOT A SENATOR; JEFFORDS IS THE INDEPENDENT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. LEARN BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Posted by: GOOD AMERICAN at January 10, 2006 3:03 PM