Sam Alito needs to be stopped.
Enough has now been unearthed to show that, if confirmed, he is going to be an activist Supreme Court Associate Justice taking America back into the deeply divisive wars over abortion, gender equality, and racial equality that all legislative means should be deployed to stop his confirmation.
TWN wishes that Senator Joseph Biden had kept his powder dry. There are things worth fighting for — and leading Democratic Party pundits need to mature beyond their adolescent need to predict defeat even before the battle has begun. Republicans, in contrast, have the exact opposite tendency of declaring victory even when they are losing. They are sometimes so convincing that they eke out wins they do not deserve.
The New York Times editorial page offers today a decisively written, compelling opposition to Alito — and highlights the fact that Alito declared in his job application his clear, unmitigated view that “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.”
Alito is downplaying what he wrote saying that he was just “positioning himself” politically for a job. His defense is that he ‘lied’ on his application — my words, not his.
This guy needs to be rejected.
From the Times:
First, he has extreme views on the law. Judge Alito said he was particularly proud of his work on cases that tried to establish that “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” He did not merely oppose Roe v. Wade in the abstract – he worked to reverse it.
He also noted his “disagreement with Warren Court decisions” in many important areas, including reapportionment. The reapportionment cases established the one-person-one-vote doctrine, which requires that Congressional and legislative districts include roughly equal numbers of people.
They played a key role in making American democracy truly representative, and are almost uniformly respected by lawyers and scholars.
Second, Judge Alito does not respect precedent. Judicial nominees who appear extreme often claim that because they respect precedent, they will vote to reaffirm decisions they disagree with. When Judge Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, he told the Senate about his deep respect for precedent – and then immediately began voting to overturn important precedents when he joined the court.
The Senate has specific reason to be skeptical about Judge Alito. Not only did he work to overturn Roe v. Wade, but he also said he had been inspired to go to law school by his opposition to Warren Court precedents – presumably by a desire to see them overturned.
Third, he is an ideologue. The White House has tried to present Judge Alito as an impartial judge without strong political views. But he said just the opposite in the 1985 statement. “I am and always have been a conservative,” he wrote.
He called himself a “life-long registered Republican” who contributed to “Republican candidates and conservative causes” including the National Conservative Political Action Committee, the super-PAC of the Reagan era. He strongly suggested that he would have been active in Republican politics if the law had not prohibited him, as a federal employee, from doing that.
Judge Alito is already trying to distance himself from the memo. He cannot say it was merely a lawyer’s representation of an employer’s views because it was undeniably a statement of his personal beliefs. He cannot call it an excess of youth because he was 35 when he wrote it. According to Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, Judge Alito told her yesterday that when he had written it he had merely been “an advocate seeking a job.”
Oddly, Alito would be more respectable if he stated that those were his views, are his views. He could say, “That’s what I wrote. That’s what I meant. That’s what I believe.” He could tell us all to “deal with it.”
Then the fight would be honorable — but he is choosing a duplicitous course, trying to disavow what he wrote — and not affirming what his mother has already said: “Of course my son opposes abortion.”
Alito turns out to be a weak conniver. This is one that moderates and progressives should sink their teeth into and shake really, really hard.
— Steve Clemons