Jan 11, 2006

A Peek Under Judge Alito's Robe: It Looks Ugly

Attempts to Cover Up His Sortcomings
It’s one of those opportunities for me to waste lots of time in Washington DC, this time by watching the pageantry of the Alito hearings. The only consolation is hitting the pubs later in the day for some local fare and some cold refreshing ale. So, maybe it’s not such a waste of time after all. It’s no accident that, with Bush’s capturing of the White House, we needed a group like Drinking Liberally for liberals to gather and commiserate together. Hopefully, starting this year with the mid-term elections, we’ll have lots to celebrate in the near future.

As of today, it seems that ScAlito is a confirmable case. Not that we’ve learned anything new about Bush’s SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US) nominee; nor do I think that the American people are being served well by these confirmation hearings the way they run. Alito’s performing up to the standards of being quite boring and evasive. Everything is so over-rehearsed that there is no spontaneity and no real answers from the nominee. The Dems on the committee, for the most part, have been asking good questions, while the Repubs are there just to promote Alito. They’ve learned how to coach a conservative nominee to avoid the mistakes of Judge R. Bork, and they have the votes to push him through.

Speaking of Bork, Alito said that this guy should have been confirmed to SCOTUS and that “he was the best nominee to the high court in the 20th century”! Isn’t this alone a disqualifier? Alito has agreed with Bork’s accessory to Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre
[Click on the link to read the WaPo article to further understand Alito’s views on placing the executive above the law and to refresh your memory about tricky Dick’s last gasps to remain in power]. Maybe we’ll see a repeat when Shrub is consumed by the serious scandals engulfing him already.

Anyway, at least Alito has a long history, on and off the bench, so it’s not hard to figure out that this guy will swing SCOTUS way over to the conservative side. It doesn’t look pretty to us liberals, but this is no surprise. Elections have consequences and we’re paying the high price for having the worst president in office.

When it comes to privacy issues, the imperial presidency, the rights of the corporations versus the rights of the individual, cases of habeas corpus (including torture), the environment, judge Alito’s views are very clear. Check
Think Progress has a good summary, and the People for the American Way has a comprehensive review of judge Alito.

As for the so-called strict constructionist argument that the Repubs often refer to as a criticism against the activist “liberals who legislate from the bench”, Alito refused to say where he stood on the most activist case of SCOTUS--that of Bush v. Gore (2000). The conservatives are just as activists as anyone else when it comes to promoting their agenda via the courts. Those members of the Federalist Society (yes, the ScAlitos & Roberts are members) don’t believe that the government, and for that matter the constitution, exist to protect the rights and the life of the individual.

“No one is above the law”, and “no one is beneath it either”—two phrases heard these days. But, this doesn’t mean much unless we define with precision the boundaries of the law. If the executive can claim that in times of war the President has the authority to spy with no restrictions, to arrest & indefinitely confine in isolation any person, etc, and such actions are deemed legal, then the ceiling of presidential “legal actions” stretches to the boundaries of the solar system—quite high in my estimate. And, there are those persons who are indeed below the law, deserving little or no rights when the Emperor declares them “enemy combatants” or, when they are part of a “rendition program.” [Read: flown to other countries to be tortured]


Much has been made of
Roe v. Wade, precedent (starre decisis), and “settled law.” Though, the ScAlitos don’t mean that any law can’t be re-examined and even totally overturned! Especially when they don’t “see” rights of privacy in the Constitution! As strict constructionists, they don’t want to invent rights the Founding Fathers didn’t put specifically in the Constitution. So, according to the conservatives' interpretation, this great document is a dead document, written by the infallible, the wisest people ever to walk this earth, who, by the way, also knew everything about the future! Hmmm. I wonder why we changed our ways regarding slavery and treating our women as chattel... The abortion issue is a peculiar one as it is no secret that the Cons don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade. This has been a very important weapon in their strategy to mobilize their conservative base, along with the anti-homosexual measures of the recent years.

Alito’s membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) also shows his attitudes towards women, minorities, and homosexuals. Check out what this vile organization stood for. Alito touted his membership in CAP in his resume as a great credential in order to get a politically-appointed job in the Reagan administration (late 1980s). Conveniently, he’s forgotten about CAP today. Yeah, right.

Friends, I know we’re seeing things that we don’t like because they're harmful to our country. We can’t give up. It’s not that hope dies last, but there is hope. We can solidify our base in the Blue states and begin taking back Congress in this year’s midterm election. Who knows, maybe god will listen to loony Pat and strike down those cuckoos. Here’s my list of people who have misused god and America: The whole Bush clique, the theologs, any fundamentalist who kills, torture, exploits in the name of god. There's nothing like an angry and vengeful god. Go Zeus!

Ah, the hope for the future soothes the soul, blunts the unbearable of today (and those dull Senate hearings), and gives us energy to move on and fight on. As Homer might say when thinking about his reward: mmmm sacrilicious beer! [insert your own pleasure here, and enjoy life!].

24 comments:

Samantha said...

I too have watched on tv and listened on radio for countless hours, including the analyses. Though I didn't know everything about Alito, these hearings brought up some subjects of concern to me, like the CAP membership.

But, you're right about the hearings, not much specificity. I think it's an opportunity for the Senate to put things on record and question the nominee, though he doesn't have to answer either truthfully or directly.

rumbux said...

mmmm, beer! DC has some nice fare and great beer... and plenty of liberals to enjoy it with... have fun!

anderson said...

The CAP was a vile org. and I'm sure Alito is lying when he says he doesn't remember belonging to it. It's not like a subscription to a never-read mag you might have 20 years ago. He was proud of this membership and he listed it as one of three in his resume to get a job from Reagan in 1985.
It also shows the mind frame of that administration that wanted to hire bigots!

Rendell said...

Alito is an extremist. I hope that he's so repugnant on the high court that only Scalia and Thomas will join him, and the rest of the justices realize that the country shouldn't slide further to the right.

geeshus said...

well, it's been educational, but i wonder how many Americans are watching....

i agree that he's going through, since there hasn't anything big that would make several Repubs not to vote for him....

alas, i hope the next Dem prez gets to replace Thomas or Scalia or both--after god smites them!

Kelly D said...

The Federalist Society has several screwed-up ideas about the Constitution and the role of government in my opinion, but I have to point out that they came out AGAINST Bush's spying and other extra-curriculum activities of this imperial presidency

Anonymous said...

I think the Senator have the constitutional right to vote which ever way they want. Anyone can say that "I don't think Alito answered our questions truthfuly so I won't vote for him"... or, I don't trust that he won't overturn Roe v. Wade, so I'm not voting to confirm him.

But, there aren't enough votes to block him either. I doubt that the Dems will filibuster his nomination.

norman said...

The Democratic party must come out swinging and make the Repubs pay for their arrogance and corruption. Americans respect a strong party. See what Gingrich and his cohorts did against Clinton: slash & burn! And, they were successful in capturing both chambers of Congress.

Can you imagine what the repubs would be doing already had the situation been reversed? Goodness, they impeached Clinton for lying about sex!

KO said...

good comments on your blog! you pointed out the important issues and Alito's disqualifications... I'm afraid most Americans are lost in the minutiae and arcane legal cases.

According to a recent poll, 49% want Alito confirmed, but when they're told he may overturn Roe then the majority are against his confirmation... Of course, this is rather irrelevant since the Repubs have the votes in the Senate to confirm him.

RD said...

I agree that the Alito confirmation is a forgone conclusion, but at least some more interesting stuff is coming up, those who oppose him will testify.

It's very convenient for Bush that Alito will probably have to decide cases regarding the extend (and violations) of presidential power.

Anonymous said...

I think Alito's membership in CAP is a very legitimate issue. I don't believe that this guy who's beet touted as having excellent memory (testifying without any notes) can't remember being a member of such a vile organization while attending Princenton!

Rowan said...

I don't think Alito is a racist or fully believed CAP's BS, but the fact is that he has a long judicial record and his decisions definitely point one way....

Care to gues which way?...

Kelly P said...

My main concern is that he's going to hear cases infront of the Supreme Court that will involve transgressions by the Bush administration regarding spying, etc. Alito has shown that he believes the executive (prez) has supreme authority over the other 2 branches.

And, I guess as a strict constructionist he doesn't see a person's right not to be electronically monitored by his government! So, all is well.....

Maybe we should all cry like Alito's wife now!

dr no said...

The president doesn't have the constitutional authority to suspend/violate law because he thinks/argues that he's acting in the name of national security!

Finally, the buzz about impeaching Bush is heard throughout the country.

franklin benjamin said...

Listen, I think Bush should be impeached but it won't happen. Why? Because the House has to vote on it, and the Senate has to try him, presided by Chief Justice Roberts. So, forget it!

Anonymous said...

Wait! Bush can be defeated by special counsel who can investigate his illegal practices.... He can be tried in the court of public opinion....

Maybe he'll resign!

Andros said...

Bush will NEVER resign. He practices "in your face politics"...

Realisticly, IMHO, I think he can be made into the lamest duck, and his misdeeds can lead into a Democratic Congress and a new Dem prez in 2008.

PS>the Alito hearings have turned milder. The best hopes for fireworks will be during the testimony of those who oppose his nomination.

Kennedy and most Dems are leaning against Alito, but I can't see ANY Repub not voting for him. Too bad security took away my blow gun with the poisonous darts...

Andros said...

For those people who fantasize about Bush's impeachment, read this article written by a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during Nixon's impeachment reveals the whys, whens and hows of ousting president Bush.

John Hancock said...

When the founders wrote the Constitution and the Amendments, abortion wasn't even an issue. It wasn't until the Civil War that some laws were passed to limit abortion, after "quickening" [fetus movement]. Most, even devoutly religious persons, believed that life began at first breath.

So, as a strict constructionist, Alito says that the Constitution doesn't provide for abortion under any circumstances. I thought that constructionists took into account the intent of the Founders....

Andros said...

Yes, but the right for abortion rests on the right of the individual to be left alone, in other words the right of privacy. If someone like Alito doesn't recognize this privacy right, then a host a big problems are in store for us with people like him sitting on federal benches and deciding constitutional matters.

Furthermore, the federal judiciary is full of conservative judges. The SCOTUS decides important cases for sure, but what most people don't know is that the circuit/appeals courts have a great power as they decide on issues of power between the states and the federal government.

The SCOTUS only takes about 80 cases a year, and it's the sole arbitror of what cases to hear. SCOTUS doesn't have to hear a case decided by a conservative lower court if the decision satisfies the conservative views of those on the high court.

What Americans don't realize is that in the last 10 years there has been a significant trend benefiting the big corporations and anti-consumer. Many issues that are important in deciding the QUALITY OF LIFE for many Americans are going against the majority of the citizens.

Now, take this is conjuction with the beliefs of the Federalist Society, the neo-con ideology, and the quality of the people in high elected offices, then it's a very bad time for most of us.

gyna said...

well said andros

the best course is to solidify our base in the blue states, and make them an example for the rest of america to follow...

though, the danger will always be out there with conservative judges trying to limit personal freedoms and the liberties we managed to get after a long and hard struggle

enjoy your refreshing ale in dc....

Sam said...

OK, these hearings may be boring, but they're important in our political system. Apparently, the cable news channels and the other media aren't really analyzing what's going on. Maybe they don't think the American public is interested or able to understand the proceedings. This may be so too, but the news shouldn't be infotainment, or profit centers. We have to have serious news reporting and analysis for the sake of our democracy.

The most-peddled item these days regarding the Alito confirmation is his ..wife crying! Down the beaten path of sensational news devoid of substance!

Kudos to PBS and NPR for their efforts. Everyone should contribute to these public and absolutely necessary media.

Rhodes said...

First, Alito is lying about his CAP membership. Second, yes he put it on his resume to get a position in 1985 in the Reagan administration (I guess those who were hiring were impressed by such a credential!!!!!). Third, Alito remained a member of CAP for 14 years!

Anonymous said...

So how do you feel now that he is going to be sworn in by the Supreme Court today?