Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Our good friends at People for the American Way ( have provided a succinct explanation for why you should be appauled by Bush's new nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Alito. I've copied it below. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has indicated by his audacious political maneuvering yesterday (forcing the Republicans to seriously investigate the pre-Iraq War White House propaganda machine) that he may just be able to mobilize enough votes to kill this insulting nomination. So, call your Senators!

Peace & Love,


Samuel Alito: Leading the Attack on Fundamental Legal Rights and Protections for All Americans

Samuel Alito has been a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit since his appointment by the first President Bush in 1990.  In that time, Alito has compiled an extensive, extreme right-wing judicial record on numerous matters of importance to the protection of the rights and interests of ordinary Americans -- a record that has earned him the nickname "Scalito" for his ideological resemblance to Justice Antonin Scalia.  Alito's judicial opinions demonstrate that he is an out of the mainstream opponent of fundamental legal rights and protections for all Americans and must not be confirmed to the Supreme Court.  For example:

Hostile to basic reproductive privacy rights: Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights. In Casey, Alito stated that he would have upheld a provision of Pennsylvania's restrictive anti-abortion law requiring a woman in certain circumstances to notify her husband before obtaining an abortion.  His colleagues on the Third Circuit and the Supreme Court majority disagreed and overturned the provision. 

Rejects basic protections for workers: In a number of dissenting opinions, Alito has taken positions that, if adopted, would have made it more difficult for victims of race and sex discrimination to prove their claims.  In one case involving claims of race discrimination, the court majority sharply criticized Alito's dissent, stating that Alito's "position would immunize an employer from the reach of Title VII" in certain circumstances. 

Leads revolution against federal laws protecting individual and other rights:  According to one of Alito's opinions, Congress had no authority to require state employers to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act, a ruling that was repudiated by the Supreme Court in a later case in which conservative Chief Justice Rehnquist, no friend of civil rights, wrote the Court's decision.  Alito also dissented from a ruling by the Third Circuit that Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause to restrict the transfer and possession of machine guns at gun shows.

Fails to consider racial discrimination in capital punishment: An African American had been convicted of felony murder by an all white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck because of their race.  Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant's claims. The full Third Circuit, in a split decision, 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 . . ."