Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alito Nomination: Lets's Get Ready to Rumble

I recommend that the New Year resolution for many Democratic Senators should be: Let's buckle up for a huge fight over the confirmation of Samuel Alito. If the documents recently released by the National Archives are any indication of Alito's political philosophy and, maybe more importantly, his political ideology, then the Senators should more courageous than they were with the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts.

Re the vast numbers of documents released last month, this is what Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and legal affairs editor at the New Republic had to say to PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

It is possible to get a sense, and it's interesting to compare them with the Roberts memos. In many ways, Alito's seemed less deft; I think in particular of that job application that he sent to Attorney General Meese where he said, "I am a fierce conservative. I'm proudest of my opposition to abortion.”
However what Stuart Taylor, a columnist with National Journal and a fellow at the Brookings Institution, argued surprised me:
He was critical of the Warren court. But I don't think it shows him to be a guy who's going to get on the Supreme Court 20 years later with some kind of conservative agenda to revolutionize the law, as you might think from reading some of the papers.
I just don’t understand. None of us are value-free including Supreme Court justices. The three notorious conservatives the last 10 years: Rehnquist, Scalia and Uncle Thomas have been trying to do just that--move forward a radical conservative agenda. Given what Alito has written send political shivers up my spine. If I were I Democratic Senator I’d take the safe road and fight this nomination, why should Alito be given the benefit of the doubt when the stakes are so high? What I see now is a smoking gun and I don’t want Alito to fire additional bullets when he’s on the Court. As, Dr. Donald Matthewson, a political scientist professor at Cal State Fullerton once told me, “The Supreme Court justices are basically policy makers who wear black robes.” In short, the policy preferences Alito has advanced scare me.

Professor Rosen says it well:

[We] have much more evidence of what Samuel Alito's private thoughts are. No one could have any doubt what his political philosophy is. He laid it out in a letter to the attorney general, which said, here's what I believe: limited government, deference to the police, the ability of states to enforce traditional moral values. You can't walk away from this.
Expect the so-called “nuclear option” to be the main weapon used against the Democratic Senators by “movement conservative” Senators if the venerable filibuster is used.

So I leave you all with a refresher course on the nuclear option written by Norman Ornstein, a smart political scientist who works for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington DC. I respect Dr. Ornstein because I’ve always considered him a pragmatic Republican and not a “movement conservative.” The “nuclear option” article is another indication that Ornstein is a political scientist first, and a Republican second. Ornstein is an “institutionalist” and respects the long traditions and folkways of the Senate. He wants to make sure the Senate is “left a better place.”

See: Norman Ornestein, PhD


Anonymous lara said...

hello!! I´m a Spanish student

4:57 AM  

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