It's Alito

by TChris

Hoping to regain the support of his base while provoking a fight that will distract the media from his scandal-ridden administration, President Bush announced the nomination of Judge Sam Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court. This is the reaction of People for the American Way:

“Justice O’Connor had a pivotal role at the center of the Court, often providing a crucial vote to protect privacy, civil rights, and so much more. All that would be at risk if she were replaced with Judge Alito, who has a record of ideological activism against privacy rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and more.”

Alito is a leader of the radical right legal movement to prevent the federal government from enforcing civil rights protections and otherwise acting on behalf of the common good.


Alito’s record shows an alarming trend toward standing against protections for workers.


Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights.


In one case that came before Alito, an African American had been convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death by an all-white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant’s claims. The full Third Circuit reversed Alito’s ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution’s exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, “[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants.”

The Wikipedia entry on the judge nicknamed "Scalito" is here. A background article at Law.com is here. These are the concerns of Think Progress, while ACS has valuable background here. And here's Marquette law professor Scott Moss:

"Judge Alito is exactly the far-right nominee that the Republican Party's reactionary wing demanded after it 'Borked' Harriet Miers. Judge Alito is to the right of the existing Supreme Court on abortion, and he's to the right of all nine justices, even Scalia and Thomas, in advocating an extremely high burden of proof for employment discrimination cases."

From a criminal defense standpoint, this is the kind of review that makes lawyers cringe:

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who has known Alito since 1981 and tried cases before him on the Third Circuit, describes him as "an activist conservatist judge" who is tough on crime and narrowly construes prisoners' and criminals' rights. "He's very prosecutorial from the bench. He has looked to be creative in his conservatism, which is, I think, as much a Rehnquist as a Scalia trait," Lustberg says.

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    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    Can someone please tell me what the expression "outside the judicial monastery" means? I heard it spoken a lot in news analysis surrounding the Miers nomination. Thanks in advance.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    After watching and reading the MSM this weekend I hold out some hope of them being able to follow more than one story at a time. If they are able to do their job half as well as Mr. Fitzgerald this administration will be unable to ram this and other decisions designed to appeal to a minority in this country. Hopefully the American public is a little more aware this week since at least one of the bad stories had to percolate through the pundit fog. Or, the recence decrease in gas prices might lull them. You just never know.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#3)
    by The Heretik on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    No surprise Bush took a hard turn to the right after the disaster of Miers. How the new power dynamics play out will be most intriguing. More on this developing at Bush's Second Best: Alito

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#4)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    JayV I think the term originated from a consultation with of all people Harry Reid who suggested the president find a non judge but experienced lawyer that could bring "reality" to the court. Hence the nomination of Miers, both a women and not a member of the monastary. We all see how that worked out so now we get a judges judge. As to the pick as a red blooded conservative I couldn't be happier. This is the fight we've all been spoiling for so lets see if elections really matter or if 40 senators from a minority party can bluff the president and the Republican Senate into not confirming a good judge who happens to be conservative. Last time I checked this was a free country and being conservative & a judge wasn't illegal. Remember the Senate approved him 98-0 last time. I'm sure the usual suspects, Kennedy, Lehey,Biden etc... will invent reasons to justify their previous votes. I assume (can't verify) that John Kerry is off the hook because he probably is one fot he two Senators that didn't. Typical.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#5)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    “Republican Party's reactionary wing demanded after it 'Borked' Harriet Miers”
    It’s a bit weird for me to see Democrats indulging the far right’s delusions of power. The far right in the president's base had very little to do with the decision; although I can see why they would like to think as much, what do Democrats have to gain from the spin? Perhaps the Dems would like to paint Alito as the extremist’s nomination. Anyway; Miers was sunk by negative public opinion polling, abysmal performances on her ‘murder’ boards, and the hundreds of pages of white house policy development she sent to the senate. Everyone expected Miers to bomb in the hearings.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#6)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    Do elections matter? Does the fact that a majority of the people want to keep abortion legal mean anything? I guess not when the right is overrepresented in the Senate (population-wise).

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#7)
    by Steven Sanderson on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    Scalito represents the fundamentalist belief that women are both inferior to men (e.g. incapable of making responsible decisions on their own)and nothing more than chattel.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#9)
    by Slado on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Once again the left will overdo their commetns in regards to Alito. The enslavery of women, the abolition of minority rights, workers rights etc..., etc... This is the same type of arguments that were made last year about Bush's second term and they didn't work in convincing a majority of the population that he should be president. About 5 million votes short in fact. No substansive arguments, no real reasons to be concerned. Just over the top rhetoric that won't convince anybody. I welcome a serious debate on Alito but I'm afraid that we'll get too much of this rambling and that will ultimately lead to his confirmation becuase Americans (as a whole) welcome debate but only serious ones. Keep it up and he'll be a shoe in.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Slado-Looks like you are champing at the starting gate doing exactly what you are criticizing:
    No substansive [sic] arguments, no real reasons to be concerned. Just over the top rhetoric that won't convince anybody.
    Ha Ha Ha, take it somewhere else.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#11)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Give me one reason to believe ANYTHING Dubya does should be trusted or considered anything less that utterly incompetent? This nomination should be considered no different.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    In other words, if Dubya -- who has run this country into the political, moral and economic ground (among many others) -- has picked you for anything important, it is compelling you should be rejected. Dems need to start using a political guilt by association tactic. A president this failed has no right expecting anything. In other nations, he'd resign in shame. Here, he just keeps up with the egomania and sociopathy and mental retardation.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    And with some of his radical right credentials you noted, it should almost be easier to spotlight this guy as even WORSE than Miers. That is, if the opposition can find a smidgen of imagination and actual passionate DISSENT. Remember that word?

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Char-Lie- No, but you clearly ache for Fascism.
    the left has contempt for democracy.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#15)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    With Specter's support, McCain's endorsement, G14 Graham's no-fb remarks, a dozen or more Dem Senators who voted to confirm Alito previously, plus Alito's mild-mannered ways, solid creds and reputed intelligence, he's in. The real q for the D's is: do they try a fb or not? If they do, and lose, RBG or Stevens can subsequently be replaced by anyone who can get 50 votes, and that includes Jones, JRB, Pryor etc. They willing to risk their only effective weapon over SDO's replacement? Mind you, if they don't fb, then chalk up another one for Bush, and expect a less energized D base on theissue in '06. Why support the fight when there never is a fight? As the nominee progresses, I'm sure the demonization and name-calling will be intense ... just as it was on Bush in '04. Would any of you call that a successful strategy?

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    Allow me to remind the Corporate programmed minds here that no "majority of U.S. Citizenry" elected any President in recent times. Somewhere around 60% of Americans are registered to vote. Somewhere around 70% of registered voters actually voted. Subtract out illegals, felons (actual Felons, not Jeb Bush's version), people under 18, and the incapacitated - you'll easily see that a "majority" of U.S. citizenry's voices aren't heard. Statistics show that those that do not vote are disproportionately poor and uneducated, so you cannot reliably assume that the breaking of the "sample" is representative of a homogeneous total citizenry. Stop making reductive arguments and start down the road to credibility. Then again, if you think John Kerry a "leftist", your definitional assumptions are so askew (thanks to Corporate disinformation) that you're hopelessly lost.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    Tampa, I think your "60% of Americans" factoid is incorrect. Voter registration has been going up steadily since the 1980s, and now 60% of Voting Age Americans (are able to) register. That's not such a bad number, especially as it represents an increase of the curve. It remains to be noted that a far greater number of those poor and uneducated WOULD vote, if they were allowed to/enabled to. The disenfranchizement of the poor and minorities in the last election was a return to Jim Crow on a massive scale. It remains the case that where voting is voluntary, an enormous number of people will simply opt out. Ah, freedom from responsibility. Like a happy ham sandwich, before the mouth arrives.

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    I suppose that a champion of an exclusive two party system must try to refute my stats. Thus, PIL writes...
    "Tampa, I think your "60% of Americans" factoid is incorrect..."
    PIL, Thanks for your opinion and related anecdote. Now here are the facts from the following sources: FEC, State of Florida, U.S. Census Bureau. For some reason, the FEC doesn't have 2004 Presidential election data anywhere I can find, so I used the 2000 election data - the one where you and I agree that Gore won: Florida Population (2000): 15,982,378 Florida Under 18 Population (State of Florida, U.S. Census Bureau) 3,643,982 Equals Voting Age Population: 12,338,396 # of All FL Reg'd Voters: 8,752,717 (S.of.FL) Reg'd Voters as a % of Voting Age Population 70.94% 2000 FL General Elec turnout: 5,963,110 (FEC) Turnout as a % of All FL Reg Voters: 68.13% Turnout as a % of FL Voting Age Population: 48.33% So roughly 52% of Florida's voting age population didn't turn up on election day 2000. Since you agree with me that the ones who didn't turnout are disproportionately poor and under educated, I won't spend my small amount of free time hunting for the data right now. I hope this helps you understand what a small percentage of (at least my state's) population is actually divided along partisan lines. Maybe not you, PiL, (since civics is apparently your interest), but a large part of America would rather spend time in front a pretty colored map of incomplete data spoon fed to them by the media. Even still, the government statistics are no doubt incomplete -- for example, illegal immigrants are not counted in the census and do not vote - despite the fact that they contribute to the success of our collective economy (ESPECIALLY here in Florida!!).

    Re: It's Alito (none / 0) (#19)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    Tampa, dead on.