Call your Senators, and then no matter where you live call Ben Nelson (who has said he will vote for Alito): if confirmed to the Supreme Court, Alito will be a disaster for progressive politics in this country for the next four or five decades.
Here’s how to do your part in the last-ditch effort to prevent this disaster (the spousal unit and I will pay for the call):
1. find your senators’ phone numbers: look here or here
2. call 1-800-323-6263 (for English) or 1-800-323-6269 (for Spanish)
3. the voice will ask for your PIN; dial 2785446232
4. the voice will ask you to dial the destination number; dial your Senator and let him/her know you’re watching, and you expect him/her to do the decent thing and vote against Samuel Alito’s nomination.
5. call Ben Nelson on 202-224-6551 (Washington) and let him know that if he votes for Alito he will betray his party and his country.
For those who haven’t been paying attention, here’s Barbara Boxer to explain:
… after reviewing the hearing record and the record of his statements, writings and rulings over the past 24 years, I am convinced that Judge Alito is the wrong person for this job.
I am deeply concerned about how Justice Alito will impact the ability of other families to live the American dream — to be assured of privacy in their homes and their personal lives, to be secure in their neighborhoods, to have fair treatment in the workplace, and to have confidence that the power of the executive branch will be checked.
As I reviewed Judge Alito’s record, I asked whether he will vote to preserve fundamental American liberties and values —
Will Justice Alito vote to uphold Congress’ constitutional power to pass laws to protect Americans’ health, safety, and welfare? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
In the 1996 Rybar case, Judge Alito voted to strike down the federal ban on the transfer or possession of machine guns because he believed it exceeded Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. His Third Circuit colleagues sharply criticized his dissent and said that it ran counter to “a basic tenet of the constitutional separation of powers.” And Judge Alito’s extremist view has been rejected by six other circuit courts and the Supreme Court. Judge Alito stood alone and failed to protect our families.
In a case concerning worker protection, Judge Alito was again in the minority when he said that federal mine health and safety standards did not apply to a coal processing site. He tried to explain it as just a “technical issue of interpretation.” I fear for the safety of our workers if Judge Alito’s narrow, technical reading of the law should ever prevail.
Will Justice Alito vote to protect the right to privacy, especially a woman’s reproductive freedom? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
We have all heard about Judge Alito’s 1985 job application, in which he wrote that the constitution does not protect the right of a woman to choose. He was given the chance to disavow that position during the hearings — and he refused to do so. He had the chance to say, as Judge Roberts did, that Roe v. Wade is settled law, and he refused.
He had the chance to explain his dissent in the Casey decision, in which he argued that the Pennsylvania spousal notification requirement was not an undue burden on a woman seeking an abortion because it would affect only a small number of women, but he refused to back away from his position. The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, found the provision to be unconstitutional, and Justice O’Connor, co-writing for the Court, criticized the faulty analysis supported by Judge Alito, saying that “the analysis does not end with the one percent of women” affected… “it begins there.”
To my mind, Judge Alito’s ominous statements and narrow-minded reasoning clearly signal a hostility to women’s rights, and portend a move back toward the dark days when abortion was illegal in many states, and many women died as a result. In the 21st century, it is astounding that a Supreme Court nominee would not view Roe v. Wade as settled law when its fundamental principle — a woman’s right to choose — has been reaffirmed many times since it was decided.
Will Justice Alito vote to protect Americans from unconstitutional searches? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
In Doe v. Groody in 2004, he said a police strip search of a 10-year-old girl was lawful, even though their search warrant didn’t name her. Judge Alito said that even if the warrant did not actually authorize the search of the girl, “a reasonable police officer could certainly have read the warrant as doing so…” This casual attitude toward one of our most basic constitutional guarantees — the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches — is almost shocking. As Judge Alito’s own Third Circuit Court said regarding warrants, “a particular description is the touchstone of the Fourth Amendment.” We certainly do not need Supreme Court justices who do not understand this fundamental constitutional protection.
Will Justice Alito vote to let citizens stop companies from polluting their communities? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
In the Magnesium Elektron case, Judge Alito voted to make it harder for citizens to sue for toxic emissions that violate the Clean Water Act. Fortunately, in another case several years later, the Supreme Court rejected the Third Circuit and Alito’s narrow reading of the law. Judge Alito doesn’t seem to care about a landmark environmental law.
Will Justice Alito vote to let working women and men have their day in court against employers who discriminate against them? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
In 1997, in the Bray case, Judge Alito was the only judge on the Third Circuit to say that a hotel employee claiming racial discrimination could not take her case to a jury.
In the Sheridan case, a female employee sued for discrimination, alleging that after she complained about incidents of sexual harassment, she was demoted and marginalized to the point that she was forced to quit. By a vote of 10 to 1, the Third Circuit found for the plaintiff.
Guess who was the one? Only Judge Alito thought the employee should have to show that discrimination was the “determinative cause” of the employer’s action. Using his standard would make it almost impossible for a woman claiming discrimination in the workplace to get to trial.
Finally, will Justice Alito be independent from the executive branch that appointed him, and be a vote against power grabs by the president? Judge Alito’s record says NO.
As a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, he authored a memo suggesting a new way for the president to encroach on Congress’ lawmaking powers. He said that when the president signs a law, he should make a statement about the law, giving it his own interpretation, whether it was consistent with what Congress had written or not. He wrote that this would “get in the last word on questions of interpretation” of the law. In the hearings, Judge Alito refused to back away from this memo.
When asked whether he believed the president could invade another country, in the absence of an imminent threat, without first getting the approval of the American people, of Congress, Judge Alito refused to rule it out.
When asked if the president had the power to authorize someone to engage in torture, Alito refused to answer.
The Administration is now asserting vast powers, including spying on American citizens without seeking warrants — in clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — violating international treaties, and ignoring laws that ban torture. We need justices who will put a check on such overreaching by the executive, not rubberstamp it. Judge Alito’s record and his answers at the hearings raise very serious doubts about his commitment to being a strong check on an ‘imperial president.’
In addition to these substantive matters, I remain concerned about Judge Alito’s answers regarding his membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton and his failure to recuse himself from the Vanguard case, which he had promised to do.
Perhaps the most important statement Judge Alito made during the entire hearing process was when he told the Judiciary Committee that he expects to be the same kind of justice on the Supreme Court as he has been a judge on the Circuit Court.
That is precisely the problem. As a judge, Samuel Alito seemed to approach his cases with an analytical coldness that reflected no concern for the human consequences of his reasoning.
Listen to what he said about a case involving an African-American man convicted of murder by an all white jury in a courtroom where the prosecutors had eliminated all African-American jurors in many previous murder trials as well.
Judge Alito dismissed this evidence of racial bias and said that the jury makeup was no more relevant than the fact that left-handers have won five of the last six presidential elections. When asked about this analogy during the hearings, he said it “went to the issue of statistics… (which) is a branch of mathematics, and there are ways to analyze statistics so that you draw sound conclusions from them…”
That response would have been appropriate for a college math professor [No it wouldn’t! Shit, I expect better than this from a Senator, especially Boxer –senn], but it is deeply troubling from a potential Supreme Court justice.
As the great jurist and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote in 1881, “The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience… The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.”
What Holmes meant is that the law is a living thing, that those who interpret it must do so with wisdom and humanity, and with an understanding of the consequences of their judgments for the lives of the people they affect.
…I conclude that Judge Alito’s judicial philosophy lacks this wisdom, humanity and moderation. He is simply too far out of the mainstream in his thinking. His opinions demonstrate neither the independence of mind nor the depth of heart that I believe we need in our Supreme Court justices, particularly at this crucial time in our nation’s history.