Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limbaugh

The New York Times Saturday reports that Judge Alito is a "conservative libertarian," one of a growing number of judges who rule in favor of First Amendment rights but take a much dimmer view of consitutional guarantees designed to protect the criminally accused:

Judge Alito's broad reading of the freedom of speech and press clauses of the First Amendment stands in contrast with his narrower interpretation of other constitutional rights, including the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and the Sixth Amendment's guarantees of fair trial rights for criminal defendants....Judge Alito has exhibited little patience for the First Amendment claims of prisoners.

Right after I read this article, I happened upon an article in the Palm Beach Post reporting that Rush Limbaugh had another hearing Wednesday at which his lawyers argued that his medical records and communications were privileged and could not be used to support a charge of doctor shopping against him.

Circuit Judge David Crow listened to arguments Thursday regarding whether Florida Law allows for investigators to question Rush Limbaugh's doctors and other medical professionals.

You can bet that if Rush loses in the Florida court and gets indicted and convicted, he will appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. One would think that a potential defendant before the Supreme Court would not want a judge like Sam Alito deciding his case. He is just not defendant-friendly. Rush doesn't get it. He loves Alito. Rush was positively euphoric when he was appointed:

This is fabulous. We’ve got a male. We have a married male. He’s European. He is anathema to the libs on this, folks. He is anathema to them. The exact opposite of what they were hoping for, and this is fabulous.

Here's Rush on November 1:

LIMBAUGH: You notice how wishy-washy these Dems are on prosecutors? Prosecutor comes along and indicts Scooter Libby, they love! Why, that's "a prosecutor's prosecutor." Now all of a sudden here's Alito, who the Democrats have voted for a hundred to zip twice in the U.S. Senate. He's a lousy prosecutor! Now they're going after -- "Maybe he's got mob ties." That's the purpose of the document. "Maybe he's got mob ties. Alito? Scalito? Lucchese? Maybe he let these guys off, maybe he didn't try them; maybe he's got mob ties." I mean, let this stuff flow from their lips, folks. Let it just keep flowing.

Rush needs to get a clue. Alito likes the First Amendment, except when applied to prisoners' rights. He has no use for the Fourth Amendment which governs searches, like those of Rush's medical records, or the Sixth Amendment which provides the right to a fair trial or the Fifth Amendment right not to be compelled to be a witness against oneself.

Rush's lawyer argued in court:

But Limbaugh attorney Roy Black said all the communications and records fall under doctor/patient privilege."The fact that the state wants to prove the elements of a crime is not a waiver," Black said. "In fact it's more reason to have a privilege. They cannot force Mr. Limbaugh to supply their evidence for them . . . Every person who comes in and wants to get out from behind privilege can make a claim of necessity. But privilege trumps that."

Before Rush spouts off his praise for Alito, he ought to do a little research about how Alito has ruled in privilege cases involving defendants, their lawyers and doctors. If he were smart, he'd withhold his praise for Alito until he knew Alito was a brother on this issue. He probably hasn't given it one thought. As Forrest Gump would say, Stupid is as stupid does.

< Robert Scheer Moves From LA Times to Huffpo | Fitzgerald for Governor? Hardly >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limba (none / 0) (#1)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    Ordinairly I would agree with you that Rush needs to get a clue. However, after Bush v. Gore, I now realize partisanship trumps constitutional philosphy. My guess is, if Rush appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, Alito, Scalia and the rest of lock-em up and throw away the key types, would suddenly morph into Justice Stevens.

    Re: Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limba (none / 0) (#2)
    by Rich on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    I don't thing the wingnuts are going to fall on sword for Rush. He was important in the past, but past his prime in terms of audience size & demographics. there are plenty of other spoksbots out there who don't have the baggage he has accumulated. The Right has plenty of pasty-faced fat guys with bad combovers. he'll be forgotten by the movers & shakers in a heartbeat.

    Re: Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limba (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    It is sad that all the wingnuts here and in the media think that giving up civil rights is not a problem because it only comes back to bite bad guys, terrorists, and the poor, all categories they can not imagine being part of. Limbaugh believes that he is a good guy and that his wingnut position supporting the gutting of civil rights in support of the Partiot Act and his general predilection to cleaning up the 'scum' in our society would never apply to him.
    First They Came... is a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) about the quiescence of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
    These guys are all sleepwalking.

    Re: Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limba (none / 0) (#4)
    by glanton on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    Squeaky, That's such a great poem. Wingers love to ask "have you personally lost any civil liberties during the last 5 years?"--as if a negative answer to that question makes things okay. Those who ask such questions are among the worst Amerucan has to offer, for they cannot see past the end of their own noses. They would indeed vote, as the saying goes, for Porky Pig if he promised to cut their taxes.

    Re: Alito, Conservative Libertarian and Rush Limba (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    They would indeed vote, as the saying goes, for Porky Pig if he promised to cut their taxes.
    They already have.

    There is a real danger here, lurking in the bushes (pardon the pun). The danger is that this strange (undue?)affection for the 1st Amendment among the neocons seems more to have to do with COMMERCIAL speech than anything else. Think about it. WHY would the neocons be so concerned about COMMERCIAL speech? Just follow the money. Those with the most money have an uncanny tendency to win elections. Keep an eye out for coming USSC rulings on commercial speech and the wide ambit of protection presumably afforded to it henceforth. I think the First Amendment is about to get radically reinterpreted in the coming decade, IF the neocons keep power.