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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Alito: preliminary round up

Posted by: Hammer / 8:12 AM

Will Samuel Alito be the next Supreme Court justice? Probably. Think Progress lays out four claims about how Justice Alito might change the law of the land:

The religious right is excited -- very excited -- about Alito's dissent in in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where Alito found that requiring a woman to notify her husband before having an abortion was not an "undue burden" and therefore permissible. In his dissent, Alito relied heavily on social science data, including the number of married women who seek abortions and the number of married women who report telling their husbands before having an abortion. The FRC simply says "We applaud his dissent in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey." The AFA notes "Alito was the lone dissenter on the 3rd Circuit court in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Casey involved a Pennsylvania law that required women to inform their husbands before they got an abortion."

Both sides of the aisle are in agreement on this point. Alito would vote to curtail abortion rights, specifically, and privacy rights, generally. The difference is that the religious right views this as a positive while progressives view this as a negative.

What's more interesting to me is what comes next. The right wing thought leaders usually mention Casey, always mention Alito's qualifications, praise his judicial philosophy, but avoid all other specifics.

Agape publishes this report:

Alito, 55, is a graduate of the Yale Law School and, since 1990, has served on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, a position he was nominated to by President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush. It is that lengthy experience -- not to mention his voting record -- that has conservatives and pro-family advocates excited about the possibility of his ascension to the Supreme Court.

RNC Chair Ken Mehlman writes in an email:

Today, President Bush announced his nomination of Judge Samel A. Alito Jr. to serve as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge Alito is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee who has served for 15 years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and before that as a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey. Law journals have hailed Judge Alito as "one of our profession's best" and The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary calls him "brilliant" with an "excellent demeanor."

Sen. Smilin' Norm Coleman (R-MN) joined that theme:

"Now is the time to focus on Judge Alito's qualifications and set aside partisan politics so that we may have a fair and dignified confirmation process, ending in a timely up-or-down vote.''

It seems to me that the right largely wants to ignore Alito's record beyond Casey. We need to make Alito's record clear. We need to make our senators acknowledge Alito's record and acknowledge what they vote for -- or vote against. Let's show the Republican base what lies within the ellipsis -- the full record on Alito. This is an opportunity to expose the hypocrisy of the self-described pro-family movement.

On Scalito

There's already a division on the right about the nickname "Scalito". The AFA notes "Because his constitutionalism is similar to Justice Antonin Scalia’s, Alito is sometimes referred to as 'Scalito.'" On the other hand, the FRC argues: "First of all, he is not Scalito. That nickname--meaning little Scalia in Italian--does a disservice both to Justice Antonin Scalia and to Judge Sam Alito". Agape sides with the AFA:

Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition says Alito is well-known among conservatives. So much so, he says, that "in conservative circles, he's referred to as 'Scalito' -- because of his close judicial philosophy to Justice [Antonin] Scalia."


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