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"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush nominates Alito to Supreme Court
Conservatives, liberals ready for heated debate

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Conservatives lauded President Bush on Monday for his choice of Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court, while liberals signaled a contentious confirmation hearing is ahead for the nominee.

Alito, a 55-year-old judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, is a favorite of conservatives, many of whom objected when Bush nominated White House legal counsel Harriet Miers at the beginning of the month. [source]

Via Green Thoughts .

Here are some highlights of Alito's time on the court and as a federal prosecutor in Newark:

• In 1991, Judge Alito agreed with most of the Third Circuit in the Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey decision upholding a law that imposed several limits on abortion. The law required girls younger than 18 seeking abortion to get their parents' consent or a court order saying such approval was not necessary, and it also required all women seeking abortions to be counseled about the procedure and wait 24 hours before they could have the procedure. ( I would have voted the same)

But Judge Alito broke with the majority in asserting that Pennsylvania could also require women to notify their husbands before having abortions. This dissent is often cited by conservatives as evidence that the judge shares their beliefs. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist quoted Judge Alito in his own dissent in this case when it came before the Supreme Court, which also upheld the other portions of the law by a 5-to-4 vote.( I would have gone with the majority on this one. There would need to be some language addressing the needs of women in abusive marriages before I could agree with the idea of a woman being 'required' to notify her husband. Also it would have to be 'notify' and not have his consent and or permission)

• In 2000, Judge Alito joined the majority when it struck down New Jersey's ban on the so-called partial birth abortions in Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer. In a concurring opinion, Mr. Alito echoed the majority in arguing that abortion limits must have an exception for the preservation of the health of the mother, because previous Supreme Court rulings required that they do so.( I concur)

First Amendment cases

• Judge Alito wrote a unanimous Third Circuit's opinion that struck down a Pennsylvania school board's antiharassment policy, which he said was so far-reaching that it would punish students for "simple acts of teasing and name-calling."(Personally I think we could use some guidelines regarding "simple acts of teasing". Especially among school children)

• In 1999, the judge wrote a unanimous opinion on behalf of the majority saying the Newark police department had wrongly fired two Muslim officers for refusing to shave off their beards, which the two maintained they were required to wear because of their religious beliefs. (I would have voted the same)

• Judge Alito wrote for the majority in another 1999 decision upholding a Jersey City holiday display that was being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union. The decision cited that the display, which had been modified after previous displays were deemed unconstitutional, was acceptable because it "contained not only a crèche, a menorah, and Christmas tree, but also large plastic figures of Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman, a red sled, and Kwanzaa symbols on the tree." ( Same here, sounds like everyone and every thing has some representation in the display, so just let it be)

On four out of six, I would have concurred with Alito.
Before I decide a full blown battle is in order, I need more info, anyone care to enlighten me?


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Harriet Miers and Hypocrisy
do as I say not as I do...

As John R. Tunis once wrote, "Losing is the great American sin." But Harriet Miers, who is undoubtedly a hurting victim in this whole melodrama and deserving of compassion and kindness, is not the loser. No, the losers are those mostly conservative posturers and pretenders who now stand exposed as political hypocrites.

Who said repeatedly some variation of "every judicial nominee and the American people and the president deserve a fair up-or-down vote?" If you answered virtually every Republican senator, especially Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Bill Frist of Tennessee, you would be more than right.

In addition to that "up-or-down vote," every judicial nominee, according to those same honorable folks, was entitled to a fair committee hearing. Every judicial nominee, it turns out, except Miers. She didn't even get the hearing, let alone "the fair up-or-down vote" she deserved.[source]

In the next few days President Bush will once again submit a nominees name. Odds are it will be someone highly controversial to the Democrats and Independents. When they question the nominees qualifications, or their record, the right will once again start crowing their "every judicial nominee deserves a fair up-or-down vote" rhetoric. When the Dems say this nominee is not someone they can approve of and turn to their only remaining source of power, the filibuster, the right will scream FOUL! But this time, their claims will fall upon deaf ears. Because the American public will remember EXACTLY how they, the Presidents own party, torpedoed his first nominee.

I feel badly for Ms Miers. I was one of the many on the left who felt she really did deserve an up-or-down vote, and would have been fine with her being approved. However she did serve a very important purpose. Her nomination pulled back the curtain on the hypocrisy of the right, and exposed them for what they are. It is clear now to all who are paying attention, the right is nothing more than what they self-righteously accused the left of being. Crooks, liars, and hypocrites.

Never again can they hold themselves up as the party of higher morals, values, and integrity. All their pseudo-Christian posturing will be for naught. The light has been shined deep into the very core of their party and what we found was a rotten stench that is emanating throughout Washington D.C., our country and the world.

At last they stand exposed.


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