Scalito
October 31, 2005 3:36 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Samuel A. Alito Jr. is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. His ideological likeness to United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has earned him the nickname "Scalito." According to CNN, he is expected to be nominated to the Supreme Court later today. This site provides more background and links to some of his important decisions. Here's one anecdote about him. If you want, you can even rate him at Rate It All.
posted by Joey Michaels (223 comments total)
 
Welcome to the battle royale. The conservatives will cry foul when he is opposed on ideological grounds. They will of course be hypocrites after the way they opposed Miers on mostly ideological grounds. They will try to rewrite history and claim it was purely based on her lack of legal ability etc. Then the real fun begins: filibusters, government stoppages, oh the fun we will see.
posted by caddis at 3:47 AM on October 31, 2005


Harriet Miers
posted by felix betachat at 3:53 AM on October 31, 2005


Well ... it coulda been worse.
posted by RavinDave at 3:56 AM on October 31, 2005


newsfilter + context + agreed warning = me not wanting to have you killed

Good show!
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:59 AM on October 31, 2005


There must be a race among the newsfilter crowd to be the first ones to post. Why the rush to get this up before he's selected?
posted by about_time at 4:18 AM on October 31, 2005


That anecdote was actually remarkable. For some reason, nothing endears me more to someone that stories about their sense of humor, especially in a self-deprecating way. Unless it's a story about how that person has NO sense of humor.

But I suppose the real question is: Will he give bush and co a pass when they come before him?
posted by shmegegge at 4:24 AM on October 31, 2005


Some observers say that Alito cannot be easily pigeon-holed. In Saxe v. State College Area School District, Alito, writing for the panel, argued that the school does not have the right to punish students for vulgar language or harassment when it doesn't disrupt the school day.

Mmm. He'll fit in real good.
posted by nervousfritz at 4:24 AM on October 31, 2005


His ideological likeness to United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has earned him the nickname "Scalito."

Does this mean Dick Cheney will have another duck hunting buddy?
posted by Mijo Bijo at 4:25 AM on October 31, 2005


It occurred to me over the weekend that Reagan was noted, among other things, for all the conservatFederal judges he appointed during his eight years. Between him and Bush 41, that's over a decade's worth of appointments by Republican administrations for Bush 43 & Co. to pick from; it makes the Miers nomination look even stranger.
posted by alumshubby at 4:33 AM on October 31, 2005


" it makes the Miers nomination look even stranger"

Was Miers actually supposed to get confirmed? Or was it a freebie for Democrats, so he can say, "look, I tried to your suggestion, but it didn't work!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:38 AM on October 31, 2005


er, conservative
posted by alumshubby at 4:39 AM on October 31, 2005


I think Miers' nomination was a brain cramp born of insular groupthink.
posted by alumshubby at 4:40 AM on October 31, 2005


Nice to see Bush goes all the way with the "strict constitutionalist" thing. A few more seats and he can have an entire bench of old white guys... just like the framers intended!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:43 AM on October 31, 2005


Whoops, that didn't take long. President Bush suddenly decided nominees deserve an "up-or-down vote" again.

Great scheduling the announcement at 8:00 AM on a Monday, by the way. It's almost as if he wanted this to lead today's news cycle for some reason.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:08 AM on October 31, 2005


How many pro-choice Republicans are there in the Senate?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:14 AM on October 31, 2005


> A few more seats and he can have an entire bench of old white guys...
> just like the framers intended!

Old property-owning white guys. The best people on Earth.
posted by jfuller at 5:14 AM on October 31, 2005


There must be a race among the newsfilter crowd to be the first ones to post. Why the rush to get this up before he's selected?

Well, in the poster's defense, it is the lead news story, and at least it isn't a one-link FPP. Also, your question is probably better suited for metatalk, if we want to be picky.

On subject, bet Laura's pissed.
posted by spock at 5:16 AM on October 31, 2005


It's almost as if he wanted this to lead today's news cycle for some reason.

We need to move on, of course, so Fitzgerald is yesterday's news, and this is today. And if that doesn't work, terror alert tommorow, and if that doesn't work, guess we need to send out another batch of anthrax.
posted by eriko at 5:19 AM on October 31, 2005


I actually came here hoping for intelligent discussion about Alito and his background. Anybody know anything useful?
posted by languagehat at 5:34 AM on October 31, 2005


Did any big news happen on Friday? I went out right after work and was busy all weekend with the kids. All I can find on the news this morning is that Bush nominated a new judge to the Supreme Court.
posted by any major dude at 5:39 AM on October 31, 2005


XQUZYPHYR: "Great scheduling the announcement at 8:00 AM on a Monday, by the way. It's almost as if he wanted this to lead today's news cycle for some reason."

Harriet Miers' nomination was announced at 8AM on Monday, October 3. I think he just likes getting the hard stuff out of the way first thing in the morning.
posted by Plutor at 5:43 AM on October 31, 2005


l-hat here's a rundown on his decisions.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:43 AM on October 31, 2005


languagehat, the more anyone knows about him, the less likely he'll be confirmed.

I think that the most damning aspects are already available. He's a white male. Regardless of his positions, there's going to be plenty opposed to him on principle alone. I just can't see anything being terribly influential until we see whether the conservative camp would back him to the bitter end or not.
posted by Saydur at 5:44 AM on October 31, 2005


Now this is a Newsfilter that we can all love. Kudos
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:46 AM on October 31, 2005


SCOTUSBlog:

Alito has a lengthy resume, filled with strong indications that he is qualified professionally. Those who know him personally, and those who have served with him and appeared before the Third Circuit, have said he is an even-tempered individual. Some expect him to attempt to become a consensus-builder on the Supreme Court, and to be less aggressive in advancing his conservative views than Justice Antonin Scalia is known to be.
law.com profile.

Majority opinions: posted by fet at 5:51 AM on October 31, 2005


> How many pro-choice Republicans are there in the Senate?

Of the 51 current GOP senators, at least seven are vocally and publically pro-choice:

Lincoln Chaffee (Rhode Island)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Gordon Smith (Oregon)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania)
Ted Stevens (Alaska)
John Warner (Virginia).

Specter, of course, is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and will be overseeing the Alito nomination hearings.

The list of who might or might not *lean* pro-choice is much longer and much more debatable.

(For more information on pro-choice and/or moderate Republicans, see It's My Party Too or the Main Street Coalition; for libertarian-leaning Republicans, see the Republican Liberty Caucus.)
posted by enrevanche at 5:57 AM on October 31, 2005


litmus test
posted by Pollomacho at 6:06 AM on October 31, 2005


Is the candidate's position on abortion all that matters? That seems incredibly shortsighted to me -- I am personally much more concerned about the candidate's rulings on civil liberties cases, and whether or not he'll defend the rights of the people over those of corporations, and whether he'll rule to disenfranchise voters if a conservative candidate needs an advantage in a close election.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:28 AM on October 31, 2005


Of the 51 current GOP senators, at least seven are vocally and publically pro-choice

Murkowski and Warner will vote to confirm. Add that to Dayton and Nelson who will vote to confirm because they face re-election in Red States.

Bush has no reason to pick a nominee who will lose. He wants a fight because he wants it to dominate the news for the rest of the year.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:30 AM on October 31, 2005


Conservative President nominates conservative judge. Liberals act shocked and outraged. I yawn.
posted by smackfu at 6:33 AM on October 31, 2005


I am personally much more concerned about the candidate's rulings on civil liberties cases

Here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:34 AM on October 31, 2005


I win!
posted by Captaintripps at 6:35 AM on October 31, 2005


he should have nominated Starr, just for the hell of it.

Old property-owning white guys. The best people on Earth.


Heh. Maybe, or maybe not.


I actually came here hoping for intelligent discussion about Alito and his background. Anybody know anything useful?

I'm sorry we flunked, but you're free to provide some content of your own.
;)
posted by matteo at 6:36 AM on October 31, 2005


I didn't get the "anecdote." Is this some sort of lawyer in-joke?

/kinda irrelevant
posted by afroblanca at 6:43 AM on October 31, 2005


Thanks, XQUZYPHYR. He was looking fairly reasonable in the cases listed in the links in the FPP, but these tell a different story.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:50 AM on October 31, 2005


Add that to Dayton and Nelson who will vote to confirm because they face re-election in Red States.

Mark Dayton? Nein. He's not running for reelection, and MN is at most a deep-violet purple. Dayton'll probably not vote to confirm.
posted by COBRA! at 6:53 AM on October 31, 2005


Yeah, and XQUZYPHYR's link doesn't even mention the case where he shoots down separation of church and state.
posted by amro at 6:55 AM on October 31, 2005


Harry Reid's statement on the nomination.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 AM on October 31, 2005


Here, amro, I'll make it up to you: strip-searching 10-year olds? He's for it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:03 AM on October 31, 2005


Great, from a link above:

- ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION
- ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT
- ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES
- ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS
- ALITO SUPPORTS SATAN AS THE ONE AND TRUE LORD

I want Miers back, I had a feeling something like this would happen. Actually I want Spike Lee, just because we have enough angry white men on the bench -- we could use one or two black ones.
posted by geoff. at 7:06 AM on October 31, 2005


"Scalito."

Great. Another non-word/buzz-name to be sick of. It's *everywhere*, already...

this guy claims to have coined the term, so maybe I need to blame him...

Damn the infectious meme.
posted by incongruity at 7:08 AM on October 31, 2005


Is the candidate's position on abortion all that matters? That seems incredibly shortsighted to me -- I am personally much more concerned about the candidate's rulings on civil liberties cases, and whether or not he'll defend the rights of the people over those of corporations, and whether he'll rule to disenfranchise voters if a conservative candidate needs an advantage in a close election.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:28 AM EST

Gosh, I guess if you don't pocess a womb, Roe vs. Wade is small potatoes. Personally, I am much more concerned over whether or not I can maintain control over my own body vs. whether or not I get disenfranchised in the next election.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:12 AM on October 31, 2005


You need 7-8 (60% of the time) white people, 1-2 (10%) black people, and 1 Asian person, but only for 38% of the time, and an Amerindian for a couple of months per century. Looks like you need more women, but you're OK in terms of ethnicity, for now.
posted by loquax at 7:15 AM on October 31, 2005


more info here.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:15 AM on October 31, 2005


I want Miers back, I had a feeling something like this would happen.

Heh yes, after all the celebration here about Miers the inevitable has happened. And guess what, if this right-wing acceptable guy goes down another will pop up in his place. GW can play this game for literally for years. He's got 3 of 'em left in his term, Sandra Day has agreed to stick around until replaced...
posted by scheptech at 7:18 AM on October 31, 2005


> Maybe, or maybe not.

Why matteo, those drawings are from the depths of time. You've got to allow for personal growth here. As Governor Wallace said, butter freezing solid in his mouth, "That was wrong and we don't do it any more."
posted by jfuller at 7:19 AM on October 31, 2005


Personally, I am much more concerned over whether or not I can maintain control over my own body vs. whether or not I get disenfranchised in the next election.

As long as you're opposed to drug criminalization, that's a perfectly fine argument.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:20 AM on October 31, 2005


Interestingly, this situation is eerily similar to what got Justice Scalia to slide into the bench during the Reagan years.
posted by Rothko at 7:25 AM on October 31, 2005


whether or not he'll defend the rights of the people over those of corporations,

He won't.

and whether he'll rule to disenfranchise voters if a conservative candidate needs an advantage in a close election.

He will.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:29 AM on October 31, 2005


I want Miers back

I don't. The woman was an unqualified disgrace and the only positive of the whole ordeal was the right-wingers did the job for us that I would have expected Democrats to do.

The fact is, Alito can and should be highlighted for all his problems, but this isn't any "victory" for conservatives as much as it's a return to the status quo. Anyone who voted last November who didn't know this was one of the side effects of keeping Bush in the White House is simply delusional. All this talk about the "battle" and "fight" over Alito is nonsensical- just as Bush dropped Miers because he was told privately she wouldn't be supported, Alito already has internal support from Senate Republicans. If he hadn't, he wouldn't be nominated. Instead, what can and should be done is asking senators just why they support a judge who favors strip-searching children and axing the Family Leave Act.

We knew in 1999 Bush was going to appoint right-wing whackjobs to the Supreme Court. The only realistic thing that progressives and liberals can do at this point is hold our elected officials responsible for their support of him- left and right.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:30 AM on October 31, 2005


God, this is why I hate politics. From the thinkprogress link:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]
Ok, let's deal with what his opinion was in this case. Alito's analyis followed under O'Connor's restriction of undue burden in Roe. Alito did not state that a husband had to be present during an abortion, or that positive identification of a woman's statements that her spouse had been notified were required. Additionally, Alito specifically states that notification is not required in the following situations:

(1) [The husband] is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) [the woman seeking an abortion] has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her.

For all the fire-breathing about how he's next to the devil, this case isn't overwhelming.

Miers was unqualified -- not because she was "not conservative enough," but because she was a crony hack with no judicial experience whose writings did not belie any sort of hidden wellspring of critical thinking that would have made her a great justice. Alito, on the other hand, has a great deal of experience, and seems to be a well-thought individual with a very clear and direct writing style.

We'll see, but let's not get out of hand crucifying the man immediately.
posted by fet at 7:33 AM on October 31, 2005


What fet said. The thinkprogress description of Alito's position in those cases is an egregious misrepresentation of what the court and Judge Alito actually wrote. You should actually read those opinions before condeming him. For example, Alito never suggested that the FMLA should be "axed." He followed the majority of the other circuits which had addressed the issue and held that the FMLA did not abrogate state sovereign immunity, and therefore did not bind state governments. It's true that the Supreme Court eventually held to the contrary, but it was a close call.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:36 AM on October 31, 2005


Ok, let's deal with what his opinion was in this case.

Death by a thousand paper cuts.
posted by Rothko at 7:38 AM on October 31, 2005


As long as you're opposed to drug criminalization, that's a perfectly fine argument.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:20 AM EST

I am not only in favor of decriminalizing drugs, I'm in favor of decriminalizing suicide as well.

And as for the whole "notify the father thing" I don't care if the father is (1) the biological father of the child, (2) in the next room, (3) the pregnancy was a result of a long weekend of phenomenal lovemaking, or (4) the woman seeking an abortion has reason to believe that notification will result in a diamond necklace and a foot rub, I still think any woman should be able to get an abortion at any time without telling anybody. And any time you men start getting pregnant, I'll feel exactly the same way about your rights over your body.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:47 AM on October 31, 2005


You need 7-8 (60% of the time) white people, 1-2 (10%) black people, and 1 Asian person, but only for 38% of the time, and an Amerindian for a couple of months per century. Looks like you need more women, but you're OK in terms of ethnicity, for now.

you forgot the latins d00d.
posted by Stynxno at 7:48 AM on October 31, 2005


I want Miers back

No you don't. Miers was nominated (I think) because she was a real no-shit crazy fire-breathing fundamentalist whackjob, but one with few public statements to use against her in confirmation, and one where most any statements she had made could be kept secret under executive privilege.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:50 AM on October 31, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy writes:

Gosh, I guess if you don't pocess a womb, Roe vs. Wade is small potatoes. Personally, I am much more concerned over whether or not I can maintain control over my own body vs. whether or not I get disenfranchised in the next election.

This is exactly the sort of thing that is ruining our country. I will be absolutely devastated - even though I'm a man - if Roe V Wade is overturned.

However: The populace being more interested in the right to have an abortion than privacy rights, free speech rights, civil rights and the rights of consumers over corporations all combined is a recipe for a terrible, terrible country.

When I see a bumper sticker on a car that says "I vote Pro Life" - I want to cringe, and then puke, and then write on that car with huuuuuge magic marker "thank you for ruining the whole point of the Democratic process". I feel the same way, however, when I see a sticker that says "I vote Pro Choice".

Voting on one issue alone means you don't care about the rest of the important ones (Which in the grand scheme of things, are more important): education, health care, foreign policy, the economy, etc..

I really hope your "abortion trumps all other issues" mentality stops at the supreme court (which you can't vote for as a regular citizen anyway). It's a dangerous mentality for this country (or any country).
posted by twiggy at 7:51 AM on October 31, 2005


Patterico explains Alito's Casey decision.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:54 AM on October 31, 2005


Bush is just fulfilling his 1999 campaign promise to appoint someone like Scalia.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:56 AM on October 31, 2005


you forgot the latins d00d.

Nope, unless you want to break down white people into specific countries of origin. The US doesn't count latinos or hispanic people separately, only as people from Latin or South America who fit into one of the other categories. Of course, you can say that you need 1 person of Latin origin, but then you probably need 1 of German origin, 2 of Italian origin, 1 of Irish origin and so on...
posted by loquax at 8:01 AM on October 31, 2005


I'm interested to see what comes out of the hearings. If this guy is "another Scalia", that's really not the best we can hope for, but hopefully this is just a media prejudgment, so to speak.

Next time around, it would really be great if we could elect a President would can make choices to represent the best interests of all Americans and not just the most conservative 50% of us. /piss and moan
posted by psmealey at 8:04 AM on October 31, 2005


languagehat,

You should know better than to expect a reasoned discussion of his jurisprudence. Instead, as monju noted, we will get hysterical mischaracterizations of him that are superficial and politicized. (At least until someone on Kos writes a diary about his substantive opinions that one of our learned critics here can link to).

I opposed Miers because she was not eminently qualified. Alito is. Roberts was. Alito should be confirmed just like Roberts was. There is no reason that such a capable jurist shouldn't be on the Supreme Court--other than ideological reasons. And as I have argued many
times here before, that sort of politicization of the Court is deleterious to the rule of law, the authority of the Court, and almost always short-sighted. After all, who did you want on the Court in your precious medical marajuana case? Another Scalia? Or another Breyer? What about in Kelo or in other number of lesser cases?

Do we have people here who would argue that Scalia shouldn't be on the Court? I would hope not. Because a person who would argue that would be arguing partisan ignorance. Scalia will go down in history as an intellectual powerhouse and one of the most read jurists to sit on the bench. I submit to you that no person can make a reasoned argument that Scalia does not belong on the Supreme Court without making a political-ends argument.

Likewise, Alito should be there too. But not because he is called "Scalito"--in actuality, that comparison isn't very valid from an interpretive standpoint because Scalia is a rigid textualist and Alito is a fan of process arguments. Rather, Scalia and Alito both belong on the Court because they are men of exceptional judicial character, unbelievable mental and legal reasoning ability, extremely respectful of the limited role of judges, and two of the top legal minds of their times. They are eminently qualified. And, they both have one more qualification: the sitting president who gets to make these decisions seems to like judges in their mold.

Elections do matter. Alito is as qualified as one can get. If we lived in saner times, Alito would be approved unanimously, just as Antonin and Ruth Bader were.
posted by dios at 8:08 AM on October 31, 2005


I wanted Miers back with my tongue firmly in my cheek. Reading past the knee-jerk provoking thoughtprogress headlines he does have some cognizant points.

I still can't figure out the Miers thing. I was convinced it was a ploy so that when she resigned he could nominate a highly qualified ultra-conservative and everyone would pat him on the back. Obviously he did this, but I think he really believed Miers was good for the job and that this wasn't just political manuevering.
posted by geoff. at 8:11 AM on October 31, 2005


On Friday a House Panel voted along party lines to cut 300,000 people off food stamps.

Hunger in America has been increasing every year for at least five years, and has increased by roughly 2 million people since last year.
posted by 31d1 at 8:16 AM on October 31, 2005


I submit to you that no person can make a reasoned argument that Scalia does not belong on the Supreme Court without making a political-ends argument.

But I thought the GOP's goal was to put judges on the bench who wouldn't be judicial (political) activists? Or is that only when "judicial activism" means a ruling that doesn't agree with the GOP party line?

The only purpose for encouraging the "limited role" of judges is to weaken the judicial branch to the degree that it legally rubberstamps whatever agenda the GOP wants to railroad through the country, be it destroying civil liberties, separation of powers, and equal protection, or strengthening corporate hegemony or the executive branch. No amount of intellectual window dressing changes this agenda.
posted by Rothko at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2005


Could you explain any relevance, whatsoever, between what you just wrote and whether Samuel Alito is a qualified nominee to a judicial seat?
posted by dios at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2005


Dios-

You write as if the selection of our leaders is a pageant or academic contest. This isn't the Mr. Top Legal Mind competition. It's an embarrassment to place someone on the court who is not a respected Constitutional scholar, but an "intellectual powerhouse" who acts against a particular person's ends is not a good person to have on the court.

It is, of course, Bush's perogative to pick whomever he likes the best. It is our perogative as the governed to support whomever will best represent us and best respect our values. Politics is some kind of game, but I don't think it's accurate to describe an attempt at favorably shaping our government as "politicizing the court." The court is political, and it has political power, and it gets to tell us what we can and cannot do. Get used to it.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:21 AM on October 31, 2005


AlexReynolds,

That's clever: "No amount of intellectual window dressing" could disprove your ipse dixit that there is nothing to the argument about limited judges?

Well, then I guess I won't waste time pointing to the Constitution, the intellectual point behind separation of powers, the Federalist Papers, and the entire philosophical justification of appellate courts. Because you have already called all of that "window dressing."

(FYI, my previous comment was of course directed towards 31d1, and not your comment).
posted by dios at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2005


Yes, Alito's nomination is political maneuvering. He could be smart as a whip, but that doesn't change the fact that he would be as much of a "judicial activist" as the GOP cries against, albeit a "judicial activist" of the "correct" and "desirable" kind. The hypocrisy stems from realizing that his installation is purely political, and has little or nothing to do with his intellectual abilities, as formidable as they may seem. Were that the case, he would have been nominated in the first place.
posted by Rothko at 8:23 AM on October 31, 2005


Well, then I guess I won't waste time pointing to the Constitution, the intellectual point behind separation of powers, the Federalist Papers, and the entire philosophical justification of appellate courts. Because you have already called all of that "window dressing."

I've done no such thing, but if we keep getting Alito-grade politically-motivated nominations, watch separation of powers evaporate over the next 25-40 years. Then the idea of having at least "window dressing" will be a quaint, nostalgic memory.
posted by Rothko at 8:26 AM on October 31, 2005


rxrfrx, I don't really know how to respond to your argument because you are arguing that a polticized Court is a truism, and my point is that antithetical to view the Court that way. I will only say this: the Court isn't there to "represent" you or "respect your values." The Court is there to interpret laws that are written by those who "represent you"--Congress. The Court is not supposed to have any political power. Read the Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, etc. It is clearly wrong to view the Court as a politcal body. That is my point. So I don't know what to say to you when you tell me to just accept it.
posted by dios at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2005


The fundy contingent of the GOP killed the Miers nomination because she wasn't overtly supportive enough of their agenda.
They support Alito for the same reason.

Tell me who runs this country? A bunch of radical fundamentalists? Sure the hell looks like it to me!

Vote "Osama" or go to hell the Mullahs of America shout from their pulpits and from the television screens! And the sheep obey.

Maybe we actually do get the government we deserve.
posted by nofundy at 8:29 AM on October 31, 2005


I'm with dios on this one. The president has the power to nominate, and he can nominate anyone he wants. The point of having the Senate confirm the nominee is to make sure that the court is made up of people who are qualified to sit on the nation's highest court. The particular ideological beliefs of the president and the nominee are entirely secondary (if relevant at all) to this.

Sure, we can disagree with his views. Sure, we can think they're bad for the country. But there are people who agree with the views, and think they're good for the country. There is never going to be one person, let alone nine, with whom everyone in America agrees; I find it rather arrogant that some people disapprove of this nomination because they disagree with his views. If (and this is a big if, as I've not perused the actual opinions issued by Alito, and the presentation of what I've seen generally seems exaggerated) the claims about his record on civil liberties are true, then I don't like him. However, he clearly knows what he's doing, and his views clearly have support (or else he probably wouldn't even have been nominated), and so I cannot find any reason why he shouldn't be confirmed (contingent on his having based his decisions/opinions on a firm grounding in law/precedent).
posted by Godbert at 8:30 AM on October 31, 2005


AlexReynolds, you are merely arguing in a conclusory manner. You are arguing that Alito is an activist judge. Do you have any evidence to back that up? Your argument is that he is a Conservative activist and not an interpretivist. Do you have any evidence to back that up? You are arguing that there is no basis to the argument for stict interpretivism, and are arguing that such language is merely code for conservative activism. Do you have any evidence that such is the case? Can you provide a legal argument pointing to certain opinions to support any of these conclusory allegations you make?
posted by dios at 8:30 AM on October 31, 2005


what do you think old alito would think about i. scooter libby's books with passages about young girls coupling with animals?
posted by specialk420 at 8:35 AM on October 31, 2005


The nomination begins as an ideological and political process. It's so obvious it's not mentioned but because the president picks he obviously gets to consider the ideology the candidates. Why can't the Senate do the same thing? Why does the Senate have to play a role in some sort of bizarre ivory tower academic farce when the process is driven from the beginning by ideology and politics?
posted by Wood at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2005


The only purpose for encouraging the "limited role" of judges is to weaken the judicial branch to the degree that it legally rubberstamps whatever agenda the GOP wants to railroad through the country...

Not exactly.
We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.
One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2005


Is the candidate's position on abortion all that matters? That seems incredibly shortsighted to me -- I am personally much more concerned about the candidate's rulings on civil liberties cases, and whether or not he'll defend the rights of the people over those of corporations, and whether he'll rule to disenfranchise voters if a conservative candidate needs an advantage in a close election.

I agree. But I think abortion-rights law needs a big kick in the ass, so I'm likely biased.

I do think, however, that it's the reporters (media) that's pushing the Roe v. Wade angle so much. Fear sells.

All the (radio) news reports I've heard so far have been 75% about abortion.

It's free money for the rightwing nutjobs. They don't even care if it's an issue at stake. As long as people think it is, they raise mucho funds. Ditto for abortion-rights groups, of course, but those people have less money (anecdotally).
posted by mrgrimm at 8:38 AM on October 31, 2005


Here is a quick (and overly simplifed) primer on the process of a judge on a circuit court (because I have to leave).

The judge gets a case on appeal.

Question #1: Was the law at issue properly applied based on the text of the law? If no, reverse. If yes, go to question #2

Question #2: Was the law a valid law (Constitional or otherwise).

A lot of the times the people here bemoan an opinion, its because the underlying law is bad. A bad law can be properly applied and be Constitutional. The difference between a strict constructionist and a judge who is not, is that the judge who does not bind himself to the text of the law will overturn legislative prerogatives and overturn a law the judge doesn't like. The interpretivist will apply the law.

One has to be careful. Because if one wants to say that they think the judge should go ahead and change the bad law, then one is assigning away one's democratic rights and submitting oneself to the rule of robed philosopher-kings. And before you wish to do that, then consider the fact that you might not agree with those robed kings, and you will have nothing to say about it because you already ceded your right to representation.

When you see an opinion that is said to be evil from Alito, read it before accepting the characterization. See if the problem is with the law as written. See if you can find an instance of Alito departing from the law and going off and making his own. But whatever you do, don't condemn him for doing his job of applying a law that you don't agree with. That beef should be taken up with the legislature, not the judge who is bound by it. (Sorry, I have to go now).
posted by dios at 8:44 AM on October 31, 2005


Very quickly: Wood: the answer to your question lies in the Constitution itself. The president is granted the power to choose. The senate is only given power to "advise and consent." The only real question is how to define that term. But what "advise and consent" cannot mean is that the Senate gets to demand that a candidate conform with their wishes because if those words mean that, then you read against the text of the Constitution and place the power to nominate in the Senate which is explicitly suppose to reside with the president. Ciao.
posted by dios at 8:47 AM on October 31, 2005


What did you expect when Bush (won/was given) the election in 2004? Frankly it is amazing that this Supremes stuff didn't happen in his first term. Americans just set their clocks back an hour this past weekend. They should be prepared to set their calendars back a few decades next. The problem? It isn't a Leave It To Beaver world anymore.
posted by spock at 9:01 AM on October 31, 2005


One has to be careful. Because if one wants to say that they think the judge should go ahead and change the bad law, then one is assigning away one's democratic rights and submitting oneself to the rule of robed philosopher-kings.

of course, one could argue that's precisely what the republicans want to do when they insist on a judge who is for overturning roe vs wade

there's another point to this ... that if a people find themselves saddled with bad laws that their representatives, due to payoffs, won't change and the judges won't change them either, then we have a situation where the legitimacy of the government is at question

in short, the people always retain the right to revoke the constitution ... (not that i think the current situation calls for that)

as far as advise and consent is concerned, plainly, if the senate is able to vote upon these candidates, and they have enough votes, then they do get to demand a candidate that conforms with their wishes ... consent is freely given or freely withheld, otherwise it is not really consent
posted by pyramid termite at 9:06 AM on October 31, 2005


For the most part I agree with the letter-of-the-law interpretation of dios, however, I completely disagree with those who claim that just because the president picks someone he likes (Miers!?) that the Senate must then simply provide an up or down vote, and that we as citizenss should just acccept it.

Any president is fallable. This president more so than many. He has already shown poor judgement in many areas including his nomination of Harriet Meirs.

Those of us who do not like Justice Scalia, do not dislike him because of who nominated him (well, not all of us). We dislike him because he is course, and he doesn't understand what it means to the public when he goes duck hunting with a member of the executive branch, and appears to side with the powerful over the less so.

Most of us do not know Alito from a whole in the ground, but we do know this president. We do know the kind of disgusting things he and his Administration do (from Iraq to Plame and all points in between) and therefore we do not trust the President's decisions, especially on something as important as a SCOTUS appointment.

One can say we are being nothing but partisan, but I would argue that we are once bitten, twice shy. We (and not just leftists) do not trust this man as far as we could throw him. We do not believe that he has anything but the interest of the rich and powerful in mind when he makes any decision.

There is a very goood chance Alito would make an excellent member of The Court (and probably will), but those who think the president gets to simply say "boo" and a person should be confirmed, put yourself in the position of those of us who do not trust the president, and you will see why we have every reason to be concerned.
posted by terrapin at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2005


Thanks Dios. I'm not convinced though. I believe an individual Senator has flexibility to understand "advise and consent" him or herself without being anti-constitutional. Those are general words and interpretation is inevitable (look at how Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton violently disagreed about the constitution's meaning only years after it was ratified.) The structure is clear and important: the president nominates and the Senate confirms. I just don't see how anything the Senate could possibly do gives them "the power to nominate." The president has a veto restricted by no particular requirements of motivation and yet that never has nor could it ever make him a legislator.

Finally, this interpretation doesn't seem to support in any way the idea of a non-political court. It's merely an allocation of political power over the court.
posted by Wood at 9:18 AM on October 31, 2005


The president is granted the power to choose. The senate is only given power to "advise and consent." The only real question is how to define that term. But what "advise and consent" cannot mean is that the Senate gets to demand that a candidate conform with their wishes because if those words mean that, then you read against the text of the Constitution and place the power to nominate in the Senate which is explicitly suppose to reside with the president. Ciao.

The senate can choose not to confirm for whatever goddamn reason they like; just as the prez can appoint for whatever reason that HE likes.

If enough senators can be convinced that this isn't the guy for the job, a job that will outlast everyone currently in office and affect the country for years; then they have every right to object based upon whatever criteria they choose.

Ciao (snicker)
posted by Cycloptichorn at 9:24 AM on October 31, 2005


"MACHINE GUN SAMMY," A PERFECT HALLOWEEN PICK--In 1996, Judge Samuel Alito was the sole judge who dissented from his Third Circuit Court of Appeals colleagues when they upheld the authority of Congress to ban fully automatic machine guns.
posted by amberglow at 9:26 AM on October 31, 2005


Oh my holy fucking god. Orrin Hatch just suggested that Democrats who oppose Alito are racist.

It's come to this, people. Republicans are playing the race card with a white guy.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:37 AM on October 31, 2005


Think Progress needs a valium.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:42 AM on October 31, 2005


From SCOTUSBLOG on the 29th: ...the conservative opposition to Miers, over the question of her judicial philosophy and her views on social issues, has given new legitimacy to a thorough Senate inquiry into the philosophical leanings of any new nominee. Democrats are expected to take full advantage of that opening, and their strategy will be threefold: first, to probe deeply into the jurisprudence each judge has applied on the bench in order to prepare searching questions of the nominee; second, to convince their own moderate to conservative Democratic colleagues that either Alito or Luttig will endanger civil liberties so the 44 Democrats must stand together in opposition, and, second, to persuade moderate Republicans -- particularly from New England -- that either Alito or Luttig would help steer the Court sharply to the Right, in ways that those Republicans' constituents would not like. The Democrats could not stop either nomination without Republican support. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:47 AM on October 31, 2005


A wonderful choice, and a nice reminder that as much as Bush can make mistakes (like Miers) he can learn from them, too.

I would have preferred McConnell, but probably only out of Chicago alumni boosterism -- maybe John Paul Stevens will get a hankering to spend more time with his grandchildren sometime soon!
posted by MattD at 9:48 AM on October 31, 2005


And this just confirms that Bush is the far right's puppet.
posted by amberglow at 9:49 AM on October 31, 2005


You guys are WAY too paranoid. This guy is from Jersey, he's cool, way cooler then that racoon-of-a-former-nominee. If he has even an inkling of the realism and world-view that most Joisey-ans have (and a large portion of the US lacks), he will make a good justice. None of you can say for sure that he will vote down RvW. Looking at his case history, he looks intelligent and fair, and an excellent interpreter of the law as it is written (see Kwansars' link). Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

and if anyone posts the 'what exit?' joke I will personally punch you through the internet!
posted by Mach5 at 9:51 AM on October 31, 2005


And Amberglow, absolutely: hopefully Alito will be a return to form of Presidents nominating judges of known qualities and Senators thoroughly assessing those qualities.

You're wrong about the vote, though. There are at most 3 Republicans who'll oppose Alito (Chaffee, Collins, or Snowe) and at least 3 Democrats coming up for re-election in Red States who have to vote "yes". The Republican "Gang of 14" members have already signaled that they won't permit a fillibuster against Alito, making 55 enough in any event. With a 55-45 confirmation locked in, expect at least 5 more Democrats to break ranks to vote to confirm.
posted by MattD at 9:53 AM on October 31, 2005


Linking to Drudge, but meh: Alito Sloppy Seconds. LOLz.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 9:56 AM on October 31, 2005


Oh my holy fucking god. Orrin Hatch just suggested that Democrats who oppose Alito are racist.


Hatch is sounding like a MeFite.
posted by dhoyt at 10:01 AM on October 31, 2005


... he looks intelligent and fair, and an excellent interpreter of the law as it is written ...

Hiring white people over equally-qualified black people?
OK by him.
Strip searching a woman and child when you were after a man? OK by him.
Fully automatic machine guns everywhere?
OK by him.
Women having to tell their impregnators about an unwanted pregnancy?
OK by him.
...

intelligent and fair? Exactly the opposite.
posted by amberglow at 10:04 AM on October 31, 2005


MattD, I think you'll see some Republican Defectors on this one, without a doubt; you seem to forget that Bush is somewhat toxic these days.

It will be interesting to see if Frist has to step down before this as well...
posted by Cycloptichorn at 10:06 AM on October 31, 2005


It's filibuster time.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 AM on October 31, 2005


There are at most 3 Republicans who'll oppose Alito (Chaffee, Collins, or Snowe) and at least 3 Democrats coming up for re-election in Red States who have to vote "yes". The Republican "Gang of 14" members have already signaled that they won't permit a fillibuster against Alito, making 55 enough in any event

You're betting the elections will force Dems to vote aye but that they won't make Republicans think twice about going nuclear and shutting down the government? With Bush at 39% You're a tad optimistic. Kilgore's shying from Bush right now in the election down here and that's in fucking Virginia.

Republicans went apeshit and refused to allow Bush a vote on Miers; they've more than given Democrats the right to go apeshit and refuse to allow Bush a vote on Alito. A lot of Republicans are secretly angry about this; they're forced by the Dobson wing to push through a nomineee that's going to hurt them in 2006. Like I said before, this is going to come down to how many Republicans want to be held responsible. I don't think as many as you think are up for that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:10 AM on October 31, 2005


Hatch is sounding like a MeFite.
posted by dhoyt at 1:01 PM EST on October 31 [!]


I hereby nominate dhoyt as Mefi's Official Judge, Jury and Executioner. No filibustering, please.
posted by Rothko at 10:12 AM on October 31, 2005




It's come to this, people. Republicans are playing the race card with a white guy.

sez the white guy who first comment in the thread played the race card about "white guys."

you're just too cute for words.

*pinches cheek*

Look, I'm sure I don't agree with this guy on much of anything, but who did you think Bush was gonna nominate, Morris Dees?
posted by jonmc at 10:16 AM on October 31, 2005


Worst. Fitzmas. Ever.
posted by rocketman at 10:16 AM on October 31, 2005


amberglow
You said their approach would be threefold, but you listed only two points...
posted by Sangermaine at 10:18 AM on October 31, 2005


You said their approach would be threefold, but you listed only two points...

no one expects the republican inquistion!!
posted by pyramid termite at 10:22 AM on October 31, 2005


The Jurist has an entry about the nomination and continues to update it.
posted by terrapin at 10:25 AM on October 31, 2005


You said their approach would be threefold, but you listed only two points...
SCOTUSblog uses "second" twice in that paragraph. : >

... second, to convince their own moderate to conservative Democratic colleagues ... and, second, to persuade moderate Republicans ...
posted by amberglow at 10:26 AM on October 31, 2005


Alito is clearly a much more qualified candidate than Miers. Indeed, based on his judicial history, he is an excellent candidate for the Supreme Court.

While, of course, he was not chosen based on his experience alone (I can't imagine that a liberal or moderate judge with an equally distinguished history would have been chosen by Bush II), it isn't as if centrists and liberals are going to get somebody with a more moderate philosophy on the Supreme Court before 2008.

Politically, then, the Democrats would do well to ask a lot of hard hitting questions during the confirmation hearings and then vote against him without a filibuster. Alito will get approved, IMO, with or without a filibuster and I think that a filibuster is more likely to hurt the Democrats than to help them. Also, the faster he is approved, the faster the never ending story of the Fitzgerald investigation takes back the front page.

That all being said, Alito seems to be a very principled, distinguished candidate.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:29 AM on October 31, 2005




Women having to tell their impregnators about an unwanted pregnancy?
OK by him.


amberglow, you've really got to stop being so obviously bull-headed; it's getting hilarious. Kwantsar posted a link before you showed up to a reasonable conservative look at Alito's decision on the spousal notification question; you might want to read it before forming an opinion about the case based only on one side's interpretation. There's actually a pretty good argument there that Alito's Casey dissent was based on thoughtful legal argument (esp. in the face of O'Connor's previous - and apparently fairly muddled - precedent). Bottom line is that Alito's dissent left all four of the exemptions to spousal notification intact, while questioning only if the law as written - with exemptions, thank you - qualified as an undue burden. Given that the notification requirement apparently consisted simply in the woman asserting she'd notified her spouse, it's hard to see Alito's dissent as, er, evil to the core.

Assuming Patterico's presentation of the facts is accurate, that is. I'll be looking for more info about that, rather than jumping to immediate conclusions based on two-sentence summaries at sites like ThinkProgress.
posted by mediareport at 10:38 AM on October 31, 2005


The Wikipedia article on Alito is interesting too, especially the trivia section. 3 Tonys, 2 from Trenton, and the possibility of a majority Catholic SCOTUS for the first time in history.
posted by terrapin at 10:39 AM on October 31, 2005


Lucianne is waxing poetic.
posted by Captaintripps at 10:45 AM on October 31, 2005


It's filibuster time

Dream on. That would involve Democrats making a stand. That would require the most fictional of creatures -- the moderate Republican. Niether's going to happen. Hell, the Democrats won't even make the GOP pull the nuclear option, since they'll want to save the Filibuster for the GOP, in the fictional event that they ever regain control.
posted by eriko at 10:45 AM on October 31, 2005


jonmc, when you're ready to actually contribute to the discussion, mind telling me if you agree with Hatch or not? Do you believe Republicans are allowed to spend months bragging about the chance they'll have to to nominate the first Hispanic and claiming in advance that opposition to Janice Rogers Brown will be "racism," then pushing through two white Ivy Leguers and claiming Democrats are the ones being racist?

Hatch and the rest of the conservatives had "liberals hate black people" ready for the talk show circuit right until they found out Brown wasn't getting the nod. All of a sudden, attacking Democrats for not supporting a minority has become attacking Democrats for supporting a minority. Hatch wants to have his "Democrats are TEH RACIST" cake and eat it in the private country club too, and I'm the one you have an issue with? And a widdle pinch for you, snookums!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:47 AM on October 31, 2005


From amberglow's "Motherfucker-in-training" link:

Alito offers support for other motherfuckers: he's for abused wives being forced to tell their motherfucker spouses if they're pregnant

Er, actually, one of the exemptions in that law, noted in Alito's dissent, specifically invalidates the spousal notification requirement if the woman "has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her."

The problem with approaches like amberglow's is that they've become so easy for reasonable people to see through. Anyone who wants to really scuttle this nomination needs to do better than that. We need thoughtful moderates with us, and they won't join up when we're spewing blatant misinformation about Motherfucker This and Asswipe That. It's just a goddamn stupid strategy is all, and reflects terribly on those who use it.
posted by mediareport at 10:48 AM on October 31, 2005


The defeat of Miers won't pave the way for a fillibuster of Alito because a filibuster of Alito requires the assent of 6 of 7 Republicans on the gang of 14, and we already know that won't happen.

This means that the nomination goes through unless Reid can pull off a net of +6 defections. The Roberts confirmation had a net of -23 defections, so that means Alito has to lose 29 votes compared to Roberts.

Of the 23 Democrats who voted for Roberts, 10 come from states Kerry carried. Count those in the "No" column, that leaves you at -13. Put Landrieu and Byrd in the "No" column as well because Landrieu might feel emboldened by Katrina (although she still voted yes for Roberts post-Katrina) and Byrd is (thinks he is?) free to do whatever he feels like. Add in Bingaman because New Mexico is a swing state and he might feel that he has flexibility because Bush didn't name a Latino. Now at -10. Put Collins, Snowe and Chafee in the "No" column at you're at -7 -- still 13 votes short. That's not going to happen, either.
posted by MattD at 10:50 AM on October 31, 2005


... it's hard to see Alito's dissent as, er, evil to the core...
I was responding to the assertion that he was intelligent and fair. An adult having to notify anyone else about a medical procedure first is inherently unfair.

Maybe you should read more closely as well, no? Go put words in someone else's mouth.
posted by amberglow at 10:53 AM on October 31, 2005


Once again you have asked me to back up my claims with factual evidence, so here you go. Hopefully you will be intellectually honest about these facts:

AlexReynolds, you are merely arguing in a conclusory manner. You are arguing that Alito is an activist judge. Do you have any evidence to back that up? Your argument is that he is a Conservative activist and not an interpretivist. Do you have any evidence to back that up?

• Rehnquist, a Reagan-nominated Chief Justice, supported Alito's dissent in the Planned Parenthood case

• ``Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who has known Alito since 1981 and tried cases before him on the Third Circuit, describes him as "an activist conservatist judge" who is tough on crime and narrowly construes prisoners' and criminals' rights. "He's very prosecutorial from the bench. He has looked to be creative in his conservatism, which is, I think, as much a Rehnquist as a Scalia trait," Lustberg says.'

• "In 1996 Alito voted in favor of restricting the power of Congress, dissenting when the 3rd Circuit upheld a federal ban on machine gun possession." So much for separation of powers.

• Alito upheld a capital punishment ruling despite evidence that the defendant did not have competent legal representation in violation of his Constitutional rights; this was later overturned by SCOTUS

• ``A judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Alito has a disturbing record in cases involving discrimination based on race, disability and gender. Under his judicial philosophy, victims would face near-impossible burdens to prove their discrimination. One Third Circuit majority opinion, criticizing a dissent from Alito, noted that his approach would immunize employers who had a "conscious racial bias" when hiring employees.'

• ``Alito also subscribes to a "states' rights" approach that undercuts the ability of federally elected representatives to enact laws that protect civil rights, an approach that leaves women vulnerable. For example, Alito has argued that the U.S. Congress cannot apply laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act to state government employees, allowing state governments to deny employees such leave.' Again, so much for separation of powers!

Dios, I think most people would reasonably agree these facts show clear evidence of conservative activism in his rulings.

Interpretivism has been a code word for conservative activism since Bush started using the term in running up to the 2000 Presidential elections. Now we are seeing the fruits of that labor.

You are arguing that there is no basis to the argument for stict interpretivism, and are arguing that such language is merely code for conservative activism. Do you have any evidence that such is the case?

I think I can state categorically that conservative activism = interpretivism in the Supreme Court, and point you to Bush v. Gore and the political and legal machinations behind it as very damning evidence of such.

Can you provide a legal argument pointing to certain opinions to support any of these conclusory allegations you make?
posted by dios at 11:30 AM EST on October 31 [!]


No, but I don't really need to: Bush nominated Miers first, before Alito, which makes it pretty damned obvious to anyone who doesn't live in a cave on the moon that justices are not nominated for their intellectual strengths, but rather that their political agendas should match those of the ruling party.

Dios, even hardcore conservatives acknowledged this fact, and objected so strenuously to her nomination for that reason alone — not because of her legal skills or cognitive prowess, or lack thereof.
posted by Rothko at 10:54 AM on October 31, 2005


XQUZPHYR, I think the whole goddamned charade is a bad joke, but that's just politics as usual and I don't really expect any better. Claiming "racism," at any opposition to any minority politician anywhere is a tried and true tactic that both the right and the left use whenever possible.

I just find the whole "stupid white men," shtick, when performed by white men, to be a tad ridiculous. What are you offering yourself up as an exception?
posted by jonmc at 10:54 AM on October 31, 2005


I'm sorry we flunked, but you're free to provide some content of your own.

matteo, quit trying to play the asshole; there are people here who do it much better than you.

Thanks to all who are providing the reasoned discussion I was after. I Am Not a Legal Scholar and have no desire to play one on MeFi.
posted by languagehat at 1:34 PM on October 31, 2005


amberglow : An adult having to notify anyone else about a medical procedure first is inherently unfair.

I think an abortion is really a special case. Sure, if anyone (male or female) wants to go out and be sterilized, that's their choice to make. I also believe that women should be able to get an abortion, but: the embryo/fetus is the product of both persons, not just one or the other; while it is the woman who has to carry it and deal with that plus childbirth, does that mean that the father has absolutely no say in it, or should have no idea that the operation is happening?
posted by Godbert at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2005


Yeah, not knowing all that much about the legal ramifications, it does seem like there should be a shared right over termination of a fetus.
posted by cell divide at 1:50 PM on October 31, 2005


Well, judging by the smear campaign already starting on the left, and the general hand wringing here on MeFi, I'm already liking this pick more and more. I hope this extreme language and gross mischaracterization of Alito's decisions continue because it will just turn more and more of the general public off of the Democrats.
posted by gyc at 2:35 PM on October 31, 2005


cell divide, it actually doesn't seem as if Alito's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey would give the husband a legal right over the decision at all.
posted by Tullius at 2:42 PM on October 31, 2005


`Alito also subscribes to a "states' rights" approach that undercuts the ability of federally elected representatives to enact laws that protect civil rights, an approach that leaves women vulnerable

I'm always puzzled by this aspect of the American system. Why is it the federal entity always seems to be the good guys and the states are always the bad guys in these things. Why does the dynamic work that way? The feds have a broader, more enlightened view somehow? The states seem perpetually caught in the past with the feds leading them to a brighter, shinier future, allegedly. Why?
posted by scheptech at 2:47 PM on October 31, 2005


Yeah, not knowing all that much about the legal ramifications, it does seem like there should be a shared right over termination of a fetus.

yup, that's not knowing all that much about the legal ramifications, all right. Legally, human beings do not have jurisdiction over their dna. A woman is only given the right to abort because she has jurisdiction over her body. She has a right to remove a nascent growth that is using her kidneys, her heart, her lungs, etc, for survival. If a woman must inform her husband of abortion, then she must inform him of any medical operation.

Even if we were to conclude that a fetus was deserving of some sort of rights (which is certainly not obvious), that wouldn't mean a woman couldn't abort, because as it stands, no one is obliged to donate the use of their body to save someone else, even someone with rights. As I've said elsewhere, no one is required to donate a kidney, even if that kidney will save a life. That's because we have ruled that human beings have dominion first & foremost over their physical bodies. That really is what Roe is about.
posted by mdn at 2:52 PM on October 31, 2005


gyc: Well, judging by the smear campaign already starting on the left, and the general hand wringing here on MeFi, I'm already liking this pick more and more. I hope this extreme language and gross mischaracterization of Alito's decisions continue because it will just turn more and more of the general public off of the Democrats.

This is my point. Alito is going to carry the nomination. If I were the advisor to the Democrats, I would encourage them to praise his profesionalism and record of jurisprudence, question politely if Bush couldn't have made a more moderate choice, ask hard (but fair) questions at the hearings and, provided it wasn't going to effect the individual senator's chances in the '06 election, vote against him.

Furthermore, they should milk the fact that Miers dropped because of far right objections for all its worth.

However, it is important to remain dignified and to avoid hystrionics at this time. It turns off the center - and the center is only starting to realize the repurcusions of Bush II's second term.

Frankly, while I don't agree with Alito's politics, he does seem to be an excellent candidate for SCOTUS. We, the left, lost this SCOTUS seat when Kerry lost the 04 election. This nomination (and eventual confirmation) is just a formality.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:06 PM on October 31, 2005


I agree with Joey Michaels. The Dems should act graciously, thoughtfully, fairly, and swiftly, so as to not distract from continuing adventures of Scooter Libby, and to present the Dems as the dignified opposition.

...

The Reason Hit & Run has an interesting rundown on Alito's paper trail.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:12 PM on October 31, 2005


I found this particularly amusing, Sticherbeast:
Reading further on Think Progress, I keep expecting to see:

Alito hostile to Mom, apple pie

Alito sympathetic to eating kittens

Alito against all that is good and just

Comment by: Eric the .5b at October 31, 2005 02:10 PM

posted by Captaintripps at 3:29 PM on October 31, 2005


a nascent growth

heh, that's taking a pretty literal view of things

The Dems should act graciously...

Yup, cut losses, move on. Put together a more centrist than 'liberal' platform and proceed to start running the world again in '08.
posted by scheptech at 3:32 PM on October 31, 2005


Alito supports General Zod
posted by Captaintripps at 3:41 PM on October 31, 2005


Secret Life Of Gravy, I have already said my peace about Roe v. Wade elsewhere on MeFi. My point here was that it is not the most important issue, and a judge who would rule favorably toward your political ends might actually be a disaster as a legal analyst and precedent-setter.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:15 PM on October 31, 2005


Alito supports General Zod

Zod for President in 2008!

(sorry - couldn't resist)
posted by redbeard at 4:23 PM on October 31, 2005


I like him. He has several dozen fold the reasoning power of "your" typical Metafilter activist. And besides, I care a lot more about state abuse of power, including property rights than some imaginary constitutional right to consider human fetuses disposable on a whim.

Has he made his take know on anti-trust issues? Emminent domain?
posted by ParisParamus at 4:28 PM on October 31, 2005


Godbert: while it is the woman who has to carry it and deal with that plus childbirth, does that mean that the father has absolutely no say in it, or should have no idea that the operation is happening?

That is actually what Roe v. Wade says. The dissent in Roe v. Wade brings up the fact that the rights of fathers are completely trampled by the ruling. In order to justify doing this, proponents of abotion have to aruge that it doesn't matter that it's a child and that the child has a father, which ends up operating on logic the exact opposite of pretty much every other sane law regarding paternity.
The reason for this is that the pro-abortion groups have allowed themsleves to get lazy -- they've settled for the band-aid when they could have worked to heal the wound itself -- I think it was Justice Ginsberg who pointed out that the ruling prevented women from using democratic means to acheive the same ends (or better ones, like equal pay for equal work and just maternity and paternity leave laws, and adequate health care, etc).
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:38 PM on October 31, 2005


ParisParamus: Has he made his take know on anti-trust issues? Emminent domain?

I was not able to find anything about his views on these issues based on ten minutes worth of Google searching and news reading. While making assumptions is probably foolish to do in the case of SCOTUS nominees, I imagine his views on this issue are likely similar to Scalia's. Indeed, I would be surprised and disappointed to learn that they were not.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:07 PM on October 31, 2005


which ends up operating on logic the exact opposite of pretty much every other sane law regarding paternity.

The guy, his rights, and his responsibilities exist before and after - but all three of them are automatically disappeared for a 9 month period. Legally speaking. The only analogous situation is when someone commits a crime, is convicted, and is sent to jail for a time.
posted by scheptech at 5:17 PM on October 31, 2005


By the way, who thinks the whole Miers(sp?) debacle was just a clever repositioning tactic for the real nominee? I look forward to the Left and their fellow travelers looking like schmucks during confirmation hearings.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:58 PM on October 31, 2005


I hate this thread.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:06 PM on October 31, 2005


You hate this thread? It's actually one of the few I can remember that wasn't so Left as to make me vomit.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:18 PM on October 31, 2005


By the way, who thinks the whole Miers(sp?) debacle was just a clever repositioning tactic for the real nominee? I look forward to the Left and their fellow travelers looking like schmucks during confirmation hearings.

Paris, Have you ever travelled with anyone? Been associated with another human being? Felt the warmth of human contact?

Ever?
posted by stirfry at 6:19 PM on October 31, 2005


By the way, who thinks the whole Miers(sp?) debacle was just a clever repositioning tactic for the real nominee? I look forward to the Left and their fellow travelers looking like schmucks during confirmation hearings.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:58 PM EST on October 31 [!]


Huh??? Are you saying the dems derailed the Miers nomination and thus got maneuvered into this?
posted by a_day_late at 6:33 PM on October 31, 2005


while it is the woman who has to carry it and deal with that plus childbirth, does that mean that the father has absolutely no say in it, or should have no idea that the operation is happening?

Don't you think that if a woman could speak with the biological father about it, she would? What kind of relationship are we talking about in which a woman would have gone out and aborted the fetus without alerting the man, but a law required her to tell him? And, if she wants to abort, what "say" could the man have? It just makes a tough situation tougher.

All of that said, Scalita concurred in Casey with the majority overall, as I understand it. He just had this odd issue with married couples specifically.
posted by Cassford at 6:35 PM on October 31, 2005


Do we have people here who would argue that Scalia shouldn't be on the Court? I would hope not.

I think there are two different thoughts intermingled here:

A) "Scalia shouldn't be on the court"

B) "The county is worse off for having Scalia on the court"

A) as you pointed out is clearly true, he was appointed and approved in a manner consistent with the laws of this country. Fair in square, la-de-da.

B) I believe B is also plainly true, he has most certainly has a net negative impact on my country. For every ruling where he has had the right idea (Kelo v. City of New London) he has five that I find simply revolting.

Obviously the latter is a political opinion, as I happen to believe the 9th amendment is more then a spilled inkblot that is best ignored. And I think Scalia shows that the framers of the constitution were right to be worried about including the bill of rights; clearly Madison's compromise wasn't successful in preventing people like scalia from trying to minimize personal liberty at all too many opportunities.

And getting a third Scaliia on the bench is, quite frankly, terrifying.
posted by Jezztek at 6:45 PM on October 31, 2005


the whole Miers(sp?) debacle was just a clever repositioning tactic

Count me out. There were too many cars in that train wreck. They are after all the same administration who had trouble getting their own people to say "personal" instead of "private" spending accounts. The kind of planning you envision is not something they could pull off.
posted by Cassford at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2005


Bah, typo in my last post:

"as you pointed out is clearly true"

Should be

"as you pointed out is clearly False"
posted by Jezztek at 6:47 PM on October 31, 2005


hey guys! just dropping by to remind you not to talk to PP.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:50 PM on October 31, 2005


Likewise, Alito should be there too. But not because he is called "Scalito"--in actuality, that comparison isn't very valid from an interpretive standpoint because Scalia is a rigid textualist and Alito is a fan of process arguments.

i agree with much of what you've said in this thread, dios (especially with the parts that exhort people to actually read his decisions, instead of reacting to soundbites).

i do think, however, that it is perfectly legitimate to not confirm somebody (even if they are of superior intelligence and have all the legal qualifications, which was doubtful in the case of miers), if their philosophy goes against what one believes is good for the country. ie. if a senator thinks it is vital to interpret the constitution in a pragmatic manner rather than an originalist one, i don't think it's wrong to vote against yet another originalist on the court. i know that goes against recurring claims as to what should matter during confirmation hearings, but those claims are just that, claims -- the truth is that ideology and philosophy always matter even when they get get veiled in discussions of "ability" and "character". me being a pragmatist :), i'd rather do away with the veiling. assessing a person's character has led to some rather distasteful displays -- frex: what the heck did bork's video rentals have to do with his qualifications for the supreme court? i was plenty disgusted by the bork hearings (even though i definitely didn't want bork on the court).

i rather people be honest about what matters to them. i'd also like to see a lot more "advice" from the senate. it's more sensible, and IMO the founders intended it that way, *wry grin*.
posted by piranha at 6:53 PM on October 31, 2005


the ability to fire peolple with AIDS for fear of contagion, whether reasonable or not, does not sound like compassionate conservatism to me. i say filerbuster the fucker.
posted by brandz at 7:01 PM on October 31, 2005


Sign a petition against this if you want...sorry if moveon links are bad...
posted by gren at 7:12 PM on October 31, 2005


Whatever happens in Washington, Bush got exactly what he wanted out of this little announcement: a significant distraction from the fiery, sinking ship that is his administration, from Plamegate to Iraq.
posted by Rothko at 7:23 PM on October 31, 2005


Don't you think that if a woman could speak with the biological father about it, she would?

But the issue raised is whether or not the woman and the man agree.

What kind of relationship are we talking about in which a woman would have gone out and aborted the fetus without alerting the man, but a law required her to tell him?

There are all kinds of relationships out there. What if the woman's an undiagnosed schizophrenic or manic depressive? What if her husband knows this and knows she'll regret the abortion later? Etc, etc.

And, if she wants to abort, what "say" could the man have?

1. This argument rests on the assumption that the couple's child is, in fact, not a child, and that the father hasn't got a stake in or responsibility for that child's welfare. We don't all share that assumption, so it's not good to base an argument on it as if it were given.
2. The father's "say" should be about proportional to the responsibility to which the law holds him after the child is born.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:26 PM on October 31, 2005


Eustacescrubb, we're talking about the Supreme Court here. Where there is not much room for the delusional view, popular on the internet, that fathers should be allowed to either (1) stop a woman from getting an abortion, or (2) be allowed to disown a child if they prefered an abortion.
posted by Wood at 7:37 PM on October 31, 2005


amberglow: An adult having to notify anyone else about a medical procedure first is inherently unfair.

You're damn skippy, amberglow. After all, I don't ask my partner to tell me when he's wanking in the shower...all those precious sperm going to waste! Cue the Monty Python tunes...

(This, by the way, in no way implies that my boyfriend wanks in the shower. Umm. Yeah. Purely hypothetical).

Godbert: I also believe that women should be able to get an abortion, but: the embryo/fetus is the product of both persons, not just one or the other; while it is the woman who has to carry it and deal with that plus childbirth, does that mean that the father has absolutely no say in it, or should have no idea that the operation is happening?

Depends. Has Schwarzenegger perfected the technology allowing men to get pregnant?

No, you say?

Until that day, it's the woman's choice. Period.

(On the other hand: I don't approve of women who get themselves pregnant on purpose and then expect that the (un)lucky father should have to shell out for the next 18 years just because she "forgot" her pills. Having a child is something that requires both of its creators to communicate about the obligations thereof...not having an abortion).

Saying that a man has a right to make a decision about something that will be parked in a woman's body for 9 months is like saying I have the right to implant a 10-pound bowling ball in Scalito's scrotum for the same time period. It's crazy talk.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:48 PM on October 31, 2005


31d1 writes "On Friday a House Panel voted along party lines to cut 300,000 people off food stamps.

"Hunger in America has been increasing every year for at least five years,"



It's for the war effort, hungry people are easier to recruit.
posted by Mitheral at 7:54 PM on October 31, 2005


Damn, Bitter Girl has a point. Am I going to need to set up a log for "Sperm wasted"? That seems like a lot of work.

Paris, can you explain the quotation marks around "your"? They are like a splinter in my mind, driving me mad.
posted by selfnoise at 8:04 PM on October 31, 2005


I don't approve of women who get themselves pregnant on purpose and then expect that the (un)lucky father should have to shell out for the next 18 years just because she "forgot" her pills.

What do you suggest would be a fitting punishment for such a fraud?

Saying that a man has a right to make a decision about something that will be parked in a woman's body for 9 months is like saying I have the right to implant a 10-pound bowling ball in Scalito's scrotum for the same time period. It's crazy talk.

Well, no one is going to make an argument that the bowling ball is alive/ has rights/ is a person/ will soon be a person, so your metaphor is broken. I'm pretty agnostic on the abortion debate, but I'm strongly anti-stupidity.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:06 PM on October 31, 2005


Saying that a man has a right to make a decision about something that will be parked in a woman's body for 9 months is like saying I have the right to implant a 10-pound bowling ball in Scalito's scrotum for the same time period. It's crazy talk.

Would make more sense if the 'parking' were a simple case of random misfortune (the womans own behavior had nothing to do with it) or was a choice made unilaterally by the man (rape). If so, then yeah, this view would be a lot easier to understand.

An aside, and asked seriously and with respect: can I ask what weight has to do with it, would you feel differently if pregnancy were easier to go through physically?
posted by scheptech at 8:08 PM on October 31, 2005


Selfnoise: better still, maybe they'll require you to report each crumpled tissue!

(My personal favorite comment was the one about surrounding tampons with crime scene tape...I even wrote about it on my site back in January).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:11 PM on October 31, 2005


Do we have people here who would argue that Scalia shouldn't be on the Court? I would hope not.

*raises hand*

Scalia is the worst possible kind of justice. He's an activist motivated almost solely by his own policy concerns, but one that's clever enough to (usually) provide a thin veil for his actual goals.

He usually uses an originalist screen, not because he believes in textualism or originalism but because drawing on the mores and customs of the eighteenth century helps him achieve his goal of turning back the social clock. He's more of an activist than Marshall, but too big a wimp to admit it. When his goals require him to abandon any pretense of textualism or originalism or states' rights or a limited federal government, he does so. That he doesn't mean a fucking word of it, that he is utterly devoid of integrity or principle in a position that should be defined by them, became crystal clear in his vote in Bush v. Gore.

IMHO, anyway. But I don't just disagree with his policy goals, I think he's a lying toad.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 PM on October 31, 2005


An aside, and asked seriously and with respect: can I ask what weight has to do with it, would you feel differently if pregnancy were easier to go through physically?

Scheptech, that's not really the point...I was pushing the limits of metaphor there. Yes, some women have an easier time than others when it comes to pregnancy and childbearing, and you never really know which it'll be, since it can vary even from birth to birth...

But, unless you're the sort of person who can, with a straight face, say "I can't have this baby. I'll get stretch marks and will have to end my career as a potential supermodel", it's not really about the potential physical downfalls of the pregnancy. It's about the woman's right to choose what she can and cannot do with her body.

I was going to ask what if nosejobs were looked down upon, and you had to go to a special Nosejob Council to get them approved, not to mention get the permission of your husband the breadwinner........but then I realized I'd wound Kwantsar with the silliness of it all. So, how about this: what if men had to obtain their girlfriend or wife's permission before obtaining a medical procedure...say, a vasectomy that'll prevent her from getting pregnant ever. And if she said no, I want kids someday and your vasectomy's going to interfere with the materials I need to make a baby with you...and the court said, well, she's got a point. It's her right to have babies, and you're taking that away from her, you evil baby-hater, you.

What then? I'm not seeing that happening anytime soon, but I am seeing a bunch of shriveled up ol' crankypantses deciding just what my uterus can and cannot do...scary.

Oh, and Kwantsar -- I'm not saying I have all the answers here, but if a woman tries to "hook" a man with the ol' pregnancy routine despite his having stated that he doesn't want children...well, she wanted that kid so badly, she should support it herself. Personal responsibility cuts both ways. Of course, that'd lead to all kinds of crazy court drama, what with the he-said/she-said factor, so how about this? If a woman gets pregnant and intends to carry the baby to term, she should file some paperwork to that effect. A baby license, if you will. And if the father is a willing one, then he'll have no problem signing on, will he? If she's a Maury Pauvich guest-in-waiting and doesn't know who the father is, well, no one's on the hook for anything...

The one issue I'd have a tough time throwing out there is what to do in case of rape where the woman chooses to continue the pregnancy -- do you track the guy down via DNA and "punish" him for 18 years via child support payments? Dunno. Just throwing some ideas out there...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:34 PM on October 31, 2005


Scheptech, that's not really the point...

Ok I can't parse this out. I think I don't get what you mean by "do with your body". Your body is only involved for 9 months, what if it were possible to have a completely inconvenience-free pregnancy then pop a baby out without leaving the comfort of your own home. Would you still object? I'm guessing you certainly would and therefor the real objection is not exactly control over your body but control over what your body produces? Are you more concerned with the emotional or responsibility issues related to having a child than the physical issues related to childbearing? Are you primarily concerned with having control over whether to continue in some sort of relationship with the father for life even if just through the courts? Just asking since you seem to have a clear view of the thing.
posted by scheptech at 9:04 PM on October 31, 2005


Just throwing some ideas out there...

Thank God. I haven't heard any in a while, leastways from myself.
posted by 235w103 at 9:30 PM on October 31, 2005


That's it, Scheptech. It's not the physical "inconvenience" (and oh golly, would I get pilloried in most places for referring to pregnancy as an inconvenience). It's the fact that if I don't want to have a child (myself being used as the example, but consider it extended to all women), I should not be forced to do so. It would be bad for the child, for one. Not everyone wants to be a parent. Not everyone has the resources, the ability, the [insert whatever factors you like here].

In my own personal case, I would not be able to properly care for a child at this time in my life, even if it seems I would (see below). There are far too many people in this world who jump into parenting without considering just how much WORK it is to raise a child well. And given that half the time, the dog doesn't even get a proper walk (even with me working from home) who am I to kid myself and say I will suddenly be SuperMom if only I allow myself to go through with being pregnant!? Although I'm fortunate to be in a stable, long-term relationship, I'm not bringing my partner into this. Without serious lifestyle changes, I can safely say that he wouldn't really be ready to do any of it either.

The argument which usually gets brought up at this point is: "well, then, put the kid up for adoption." Sure. That'd work for our blue-eyed, blond-haired, smart offspring. But what about all the kids who linger in foster care now because they're not what the prospective adoptive parents "want"? (Point of fact: the trend towards genetic trait-selecting in IVF, or gender-picking...let alone how long it takes to find parents for a crack baby or a handicapped child or an older child who fell through the system's crack).

Considered from an outside perspective, our situation seems pretty good for bringing a child into the world. We have all the standard middle-class accoutrements, (grand)parents with flexible schedules who could help out with childcare, education, you name it. But that's us...not the single mothers of the world, the abused spouses of the world, the teenagers of the world...so who are we to say what's right for them?

Any time you dictate what someone can and cannot do with their body, you're also dictating what they can and cannot do with the rest of their life...and also, dictating the kind of life their child will have. (See above re: babies who can't get placed for adoption, etc).

Once you start dictating how people can live their lives, well... it's not too long until your lifestyle might come under attack from the powers that be. And this is what really, truly scares me.

On a side note -- recent laws passed in a number of states, including my own (Ohio), make it mandatory to keep a woman on life support if she's found to be pregnant at the time of an accident which renders her unable to communicate with her doctors. This scares the bejesus out of me as well.

My partner and parents know my wishes in great detail (discussing the Schiavo case'll do that to you). But he, and by proxy me, can be overruled by the overreaching state that says "no, no, she wants to be a human incubator," even if I clearly do not.

In that case, it's his baby too, yes? And he's saying no, turn off the ventilator, and yes, I know that both of them will die. But the state says no. So already, you've got this mission creep in the law threatening both our rights. Where's the outrage about that?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:41 PM on October 31, 2005


twiggy: Voting on one issue alone means you don't care about the rest of the important ones ...

Perhaps ... but some issues are of such fundamental import that they set the tone for the rest of'em. This is why Souter and the rest of the SCOTUS left wing caught so much flak over the eminent domain issue; if you don't have reasonable property rights, you really don't have anything approaching freedom and most all of the other issues are immediately subordinated.

Same goes with basic reproductive rights. If you don't have those, you don't have much of anything.

Sadly ... if Roe V Wade is overturned (and not rectified post haste), I will immediately become an unapologetic 1-issue voter.
posted by RavinDave at 10:31 PM on October 31, 2005


dios: I submit to you that no person can make a reasoned argument that Scalia does not belong on the Supreme Court without making a political-ends argument.

The bastardization of the EP clause in order to steal an election pretty much puts the lie to that. That was Scalia's "brain child"; a foolish argument with no constitutional basis that was explicitly rebuffed by the same court a few weeks earlier and was so bad it was confined to situations where Gore was in danger of becoming president.

And don't evebn try to pretend that's a "political-ends" argument. I didn't even vote for Gore.
posted by RavinDave at 10:37 PM on October 31, 2005


Elections do matter. Alito is as qualified as one can get.

What a brilliant game.

Qualifications are what are needed to get into the game. A confirmation hearing is not a "is this guy qualified" thing (that should be a given, and would be if an idiot like Bush did not occupy the White House). The Senate gets to give it's consent. They can vote down a nomination to the Supreme Court for any damn reason they please. They are in no way restricted to making decisions based on qualifications (indeed, qualifications only play a role if the President is an idiot and nominates fellow idiots -- that is, they only rule out a nominee, they do nothing to "rule in" a nominee).

It is a testament to how ascendant some want the excecutive branch, this desire to turn confirmation of judicial appointees into nothing other than a cursory examination of qualifications, devoid of "litmus tests" and examinations of the politics and philosophy of the nominee.

If a senator does not like the politics (or hell, even demeanor) of a nominee, that senator is under absolutely zero obligation to approve a presidential nominee for the bench. When the nominee is considerably to the right of the nation at large, for a vital and lifetime appointment, the politics of that jurist are paramount and are ample grounds for a "no" vote (or any other senatorial procedure to block said appointment).

Qualification should be a given: it's only because of the complete fucking farce that Miers was that they are brought up here. That Alito is qualified only means he should not be ruled out on those grounds. It says nothing about whether his judicial philosophy is acceptable to the Senate at large (and by proxy the American people), and thus that he should or shouldn't be confirmed.
posted by teece at 1:18 AM on November 1, 2005


Angry Bear has a smart, thoughtful take on Alito's decision about the Family and Medical Leave Act. Unlike most of what I've seen from the left so far, this one is a good one to pass around to folks on the fence. It's an eye-opening look at how Alito's strange brand of "restraint" puts him at serious odds with most of the rest of the country.
posted by mediareport at 4:59 AM on November 1, 2005


What mcsweetie said. Seriously folks, please don't feed the troll. Every word that comes out of its mouth is meant to derail and inflame.
posted by terrapin at 5:45 AM on November 1, 2005


If a senator does not like the politics (or hell, even demeanor) of a nominee, that senator is under absolutely zero obligation to approve a presidential nominee for the bench.

Is there any in-built mechanism to prevent a stalemate infinite series of candidates being proposed and denied or has common sense simply always prevailed (from one side or the other) in the past?
posted by scheptech at 6:10 AM on November 1, 2005


So many of the right wing nuts that drool at the name of Scalita (they will finally get their bloody fight they've been itching for) also claim to despise "activist judges." Here's who the "activist judges" really are (not the ones that "judgify" contrary to what a wing nut wants) (via NYT):

We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O'Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %


Damn hypocrites just want what they want the way they want it. Where's MY fu*king pony? Huh?
posted by nofundy at 6:27 AM on November 1, 2005


bittter-girl.com
People like you make me wish I wasn't pro-choice. I think this week's West Wing made the point well. Although most people are pro-choice, the vast majority, myself included, think that abortion is a 'bad thing'. I support its legality because the civil liberties implications of outlawing it are worse. I think drugs should be legalized (based on the same reasoning, person freedom) but I don't think that there should be vending machines dispensing weed on streetcorners.
I find it hard to believe that it is debatable that fewer abortions are better. I would prefer that the frequency of abortions be reduced by contraception and the access to free health care, child care etc. that would make it easier for women to keep their offspring but I don't see why all restriction of any kind is automatically part of the slippery slope to coathangers in alleys.
posted by Octaviuz at 7:25 AM on November 1, 2005


Is there any in-built mechanism to prevent a stalemate infinite series of candidates being proposed and denied...?
posted by scheptech at 9:10 AM EST on November 1 [!]


Yes. It is called elections. The perceived obstructors or troublemakers can be voted out. Republicans will claim that this is what has happened in the last feew elections so they get to choose and confirm whomever they like. Dems can declare a filibuster. Rebubs can change the senate rules, making the filibuster void. Then, in 2006, the people will say who overreached. Of course, it's not quite as simple as all that but that is the theory.
posted by a_day_late at 7:28 AM on November 1, 2005


bitter-girl.com,

haven't run into you on MeFi before, so it's hard for me to gague your responses here against others in other threads, but by and large, here, you're just rehashing the party line, without taking into account what's already been noted in this thread, namely that the underlying logic of the party line is requires that one accept as an a priori that the result of a pregnancy is not a child, or not a human being, or not possesed of enough of the component human parts to have any rights. So long as some of us disagree that the product of a pregnancy is comparable to a bowling ball, most of your arguments fail to persuade.
I know that the Republican position on abortion is worse -- because Republicans claim to value life, but thier policies actually are anti-life and anti-family -- they favor big business over the needs of individuals, and they accept the status quo regarding sexism. But the Democratic position is only slightly less reprehnensible -- the logic of the pro-abortion movement asks me to equate a living human being with things like bowling balls -- it asks me to believe that children are their mothers' property, to be disposed of as they please. I can't get behind that logic.
Our time would be better-spent, I think, trying to get rid of sexism in our culture, wrest control of the workplace back from corporate overlords, increase education about safe sex practice, provide universal health care that adequately covers the expenses of childbirth, and eradicate poverty -- since those tend to be the forces that put most of the women who get abortions in the position of wanting one in the first place.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:44 AM on November 1, 2005


Dear Mr. Twiggy,
I'm sorry if you think my alarm over having my rights being tossed to the wolves is ruining your country, but there you are. I am tired of being reasonable. I am tired of having to explain this to men who will never be in my position. I am tired of being told that Roe vs. Wade is "bad law" and therefore I should just let it go, so that it can get replaced at some imaginary point in the future with something better, maybe.

Resonably or unreasonably here is how it feels: it is as if you were telling the black people of America "The 13th Amendment that made you a full citizen is bad law and we want to throw that out. You'll be 3/4 of a person for a little while until we figure out something better."

And guess what, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, and the decision to legally allow abortions is returned to the state, I will be living in a state where abortion is murder.*

Furthermore, since a large percentage of those people who agree with abortion=murder are also against RU486, the morning after pill, and even birth control pills themselves, should Roe vs. Wade be overturned I believe there will be a greater erosion of a woman's reproductive rights at a state level.

*Just so you understand that this is not about me, personally, at age 48 my chances of becoming pregnant are almost zero and an accidental pregnancy at this point would be a very joyous occasion.

Now, can I argue that Alito should or should not be confirmed? According to many of you, since I am not a lawyer and have little (perhaps no) understanding of "Constitutional" law then I guess I shouldn't. I will say this-- If, in the past, Supreme Court Justices were legally sworn in and then legally sitting on the bench when they voted on Roe vs. Wade, then the original ruling should be allowed to stand. After all, it seems to boil down to "my opinion is this" and "my opinion is that." So we are going to get two more guys whose opinion is "that." Why does that suddenly make the original ruling wrong?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:23 AM on November 1, 2005


So we are going to get two more guys whose opinion is "that." Why does that suddenly make the original ruling wrong?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:23 AM EST on November 1 [!]


Because Mefi says "You Are Not A Legal Scholar" and therefore your opinion on Scalia and Alito's decisions is Not Valid, no matter how much their decisions have and may impact upon you and your loved ones ability to live in freedom.
posted by Rothko at 8:48 AM on November 1, 2005


We can all follow this on his blog. ; )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:01 AM on November 1, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy:

What is there to say when your argument consists of knowingly unreasonable positions and emotional appeals?

All I can say is that I symapthize with the bad situations our society puts women in, and I think something ought to be done about it. I even understand that as a temporary solution, abortion is sometimes all some women have. But if your goal is to secure the "right" to abortion for all women for all time, I can't support that. If you want help solving the problems of systematic sexism and poverty and social prejudice against women, and the need for healthcare for all people that includes coverage for pregnancy/childbirth/children, then I'm ready to work. But I'm opposed to violence, and cannot accept it as a permanent solution. So long as the left does accept it as such, the right will have a moral advantage over us, even if only in one area, and they will ride it for all it's worth and we will lose elections, and therefore the chance to ever really solve that laundry list of problems.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:25 AM on November 1, 2005


I hate this thread because it's hijacked by the abortion debate, and the abortion debate here, as everywhere, is hijacked by people yelling at each other.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:35 AM on November 1, 2005


You would say that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings. Your type make me sick, you vacuous, toffy-nosed, malodorous pervert.

Yes, I know quoting Python is lame. But I hoped it would make it clear that it was a joke, son. A gag. A flag-waver. Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:31 AM on November 1, 2005


it's not a child; it's only a potential child

(and if we're talking law, using the word "child" is not at all appropriate--and it's also emotional.)
posted by amberglow at 10:33 AM on November 1, 2005


it's not a child; it's only a potential child

And how does affect the spousal notification analysis?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:51 AM on November 1, 2005


and if we're talking law, using the word "child" is not at all appropriate

Wha?
posted by Kwantsar at 11:20 AM on November 1, 2005


eustacescrubb: Our time would be better-spent, I think, trying to get rid of sexism in our culture, wrest control of the workplace back from corporate overlords, increase education about safe sex practice, provide universal health care that adequately covers the expenses of childbirth, and eradicate poverty -- since those tend to be the forces that put most of the women who get abortions in the position of wanting one in the first place.

Uh-huh. I agree with you on all counts. Problem is, none of that is very bloody likely as long as Bush and the kind of "justices" he's been appointing are in power. I mean, come on, these are the people who think if you don't talk about premarital sex with teens, it just won't happen. They're living in a dreamworld. And as long as they keep chipping away at the "smaller" things like sex ed, the more damaged the system will become.

Octaviuz, I'm not saying we should all run out and have abortions for the hell of it. People who use abortion for contraception are either mindbendingly clueless or victims of the same sick system I referenced above (i.e. no sex ed, etc). But if you need to have one, then damn it, you should be able to do it safely, and without permission from your partner, the state or anyone else save you and your doctor.

Depending on where you're going for healthcare, your doctor may not even be able to discuss abortions with you, let alone perform them. (Remember the this case? You can't tell me that forcing a woman to carry a fetus that absolutely will not survive to term is a good idea just because she's covered with military benefits).

It's clear we'll never all agree on this topic. And everyone has the right to disagree, but as a woman who's watched conservative crackpots attempt to turn us into second-class citizens who don't deserve the same rights as our male peers to privacy and the like over this past year (such as this and this), you can't blame me for being a smidge concerned. I see the abortion debate as a "easy win" for the conservatives. Saying you're pro-choice is like saying you like kicking puppies to some people.

But then again, no one wants to do what's necessary to keep unwanted pregnancies from happening and to tackle all the things eustacescrubbs think we should focus our energies on instead. So what do we do? Restrict womens' right to privacy to make the world a better place? That's gonna work about as well as Homeland Security checking bags on the subway while a plane's flying into a building overhead.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:22 PM on November 1, 2005


People like you make me wish I wasn't pro-choice.

People like you make me wish we could have a debate without asshole remarks like that. I would think men weighing in on this issue would have the elementary decency to agree that women have a far greater stake in the matter, but I would obviously be wrong.

bitter-girl.com: No need to be conciliatory. Women should have an absolute right to abortions for any reason, without having to worry about oh-so-righteous men telling them they're only entitled to one if they feel really, really bad about it (and remember, we can withdraw the privilege at any time, so behave). Fuck that. A woman's body is hers, end of story.
posted by languagehat at 1:24 PM on November 1, 2005


et tu, language hat? *sigh*
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:27 PM on November 1, 2005


Ah, that's why I'm spaced-out. I misplaced one of them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:29 PM on November 1, 2005


eustacescrubb, you would have a woman give up the rights to her own body in order to garner support from you and others on "more acceptable" issues. Can't you see how that smacks of blackmail? Once a person gives up his/her fundamental human rights, there's very little to fight for--save for sheer survival.

But I'm opposed to violence

Some would make the case that the state commandeering a woman's body for months at at time and putting her at physical risk is itself an act of violence.

and cannot accept it as a permanent solution

Fine. How do you propose to end it (abortion) without taking rights away from women? You are tilting dangerously towards utopianism with your fancy liberal programs to solve poverty and so on. In the end, you will never completely succeed with them and women will have lost the right to control their bodies due to your compromises.

So long as the left does accept it as such, the right will have a moral advantage over us, even if only in one area, and they will ride it for all it's worth and we will lose elections, and therefore the chance to ever really solve that laundry list of problems.

That's just goofy talk. The right has no "moral advantage." They have a powerful political machine and are well organized for the time being. Political climates change as fast as the wind and I will thank you not to give up my high ground with your philosophical opining.
posted by a_day_late at 1:51 PM on November 1, 2005


Same crap, different week. Yesterday brought us the sight of Drudge heavily pushing the feces-laden smear that Democrats were aligning against Alito because he was an Italian American. We then got to see MSNBC's Chris Matthews pick up the smear and run with it, waving a "discovered" Democratic memo that he wouldn't bother to actually show anyone but which, we were assured, contained a "disgusting" attack on Alito's ethnicity.

Only one problem. As it turns out, the whole thing was a crude Swift Boat style attack on Democrats that was apparently orchestrated by reliable Republican A. Kenneth Ciongoli, crassly distributing his bigotry-baiting claim under the auspices of the National Italian American Foundation. Oh, and he's hardly a disinterested party -- his son, as it turns out, clerked for Alito.

So within the span of half a day, an attack was manufactured, distributed to reliable Republican sources, and placed on MSNBC, which treated it as something they had themselves "discovered". And within that same half a day, it was tracked back from MSNBC to its original Republican source. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:57 PM on November 1, 2005


a-day_late,

Since we disagree about the fundamentals of the issue, you're missing my point.

would have a woman give up the rights to her own body in order to garner support from you and others on "more acceptable" issues. Can't you see how that smacks of blackmail? Once a person gives up his/her fundamental human rights, there's very little to fight for--save for sheer survival.

See, since we don't agree that it's as simple as a woman having "rights to her own body" (I think the unborn kids have bodies, and rights, also), the rest of your argument isn't persuasive. And the "more acceptable issues" aren't, as you characterize them, a "trade" -- the point I'm making is that very few women get abortions just for the hell of it, or out of selfishness, but becsause they're trapped by various forces outside thier control (sexism, lack of health care, lack of support for the child once it's born, etc.) Abortion was originally seen by the second wave feminists not as a permanent solution, but as a temporary fix until the root problems were solved. For example, here's Adrienne Rich on the matter:
In reality, the feminist movement could be said to be trying to visualize and make way for a world in which abortion would not be necessary; a world free from poverty and rape, in which young girls would grow with intelligent regard for and knowledge of their bodies and respect for their minds, in which the socialization of women into heterosexual romance and marriage owuld no longer be the primary lesson of culture; in which single women could raise children with less crushing cost to themselves, in which female creativity might or might not choose to express itself in motherhood.

I'm saying that I'm willing to work toward a world like that, but I am unwilling to support abortion as an end to itself.

Some would make the case that the state commandeering a woman's body for months at at time and putting her at physical risk is itself an act of violence.

They might, but in doing so, they'd cease to persuasive, since they'd be arguing from a premise with which I don't agree (that the reproductive rights of women is the only issue one must wiegh in considering these matters and that those rights trump the rights of all other people, including the rights of the unborn children to life), and since they'd be redinnfing "violence" to mean soemthing entirely new -- rhetorical or symbolic violence, as much as it is beloved by the second and third wave feminsts, is not the same as actual violence.

Fine. How do you propose to end it (abortion) without taking rights away from women? You are tilting dangerously towards utopianism with your fancy liberal programs to solve poverty and so on. In the end, you will never completely succeed with them and women will have lost the right to control their bodies due to your compromises.

Well, I admit we're talking about hard work here, no doubbt about it. But by your reasoning, we ought to accept violent solutions merely out of expedience. Make no mistake: I do not, and will never consider abortion a "right." It is, when necessary, a saddening solution that I understand is sometimes the best among evils. The real right here is the right of women to be free from sexism. Abortions do not make women more free from sexism.

That's just goofy talk. The right has no "moral advantage." They have a powerful political machine and are well organized for the time being. Political climates change as fast as the wind and I will thank you not to give up my high ground with your philosophical opining.

We simply disagree. Since I don't agree that unborn babies are nonhuman, the party line on abortion is unpersuasive when it doesn't horrify my with its inhumanity. And the "my way or the highway" attitude too many pro-choice folks take with this will ultimately backfire, since, like me, a majority of Americans lean pro-choice, but also think abortion is, in itself, a bad thing.
Don't get me wrong -- I am not suggesting we overturn Roe v. Wade. But it baffles me that in the thirty years the left has had since that decision, literaly nothng has been done to address the root problems that put most women in the position of wanting/needing an abortion in the first place. Once the Supreme Court is stacked with conservatives, I've no doubt that the ruling will be overturned. When that happens, will the left be ready to address those root problems? Sadly, I think not. Sadder, that the let has not been using this time as an opportunity to make the society Rich describes, so that when that day comes, abortion will no longer be necessary.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:41 PM on November 1, 2005


bitter-girl.com:

I missed your reply somehow. I want to make it clear that I'm not suggesting a "trade" (give up abortion in exchange for these other things). As I say in my post above this one, I do think abortion will not be guranteed forever, and if it goes, I'm not willing to fight to get it back, since it was never the best solution to the problem to begin with. I am willing to fight for those other things, which I think will have the effect of making a world where women won't need abortions.

amberglow:

whether or not it's a child is your opinion. I happen to disagree. I also happen to find it saddening that many liberals are willing to define away the humanity of those children to achieve their desired political ends. That is, as I have said, in contradiction with the core philosophy of liberalism, and it is liberalism's greatest shame.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:56 PM on November 1, 2005


eustacescrubb,

I wrote several lengthy, point-by-point replies but scrapped them. We are not even on the same page. In closing, you are concerned (admirably) with violence against a fetus/baby (I guess you get to decide) but have no compunction about taking away a woman's liberty for 9 months, as well as (potentially) handing her a death sentence. You would seek to punish women in the future because your utopian ideal (abortion becoming completely unnecessary/unwanted) has not been met. In short, you are an ideologue and you scare me very much. Enjoy your new Scalito world and all it promises to be.
posted by a_day_late at 5:50 PM on November 1, 2005


a_day_late,

I think you're still misunderstanding me, and I don't understand why you feel it necessary to punctuate your responses with insults and ad hominems.

In closing, you are concerned (admirably) with violence against a fetus/baby (I guess you get to decide)

Actually, I don't think *I* get to decide; I think that it's not the sort of thing we're equipped to decide with much certainty and I think it's better for the law to err on the side of caution when it's deciding who is and isn't human.

but have no compunction about taking away a woman's liberty for 9 months, as well as (potentially) handing her a death sentence.

I know this is an emotional issue, and I am willing to forgive some emotional appeals and rhetoric because I know there is a lot of strong feeling on this issue, but please don't put words in my mouth. Firstly, I don't agree with you that pregnancy is a loss of liberty for women. I do think that women should be free to choose whether they will be pregnant or not, but the actual fact of being pregnant is not, in itself a loss of liberty. As for the "death sentence" bit, I have no idea where that's coming from. I did say above that it was not a goal of mine to overturn Roe v Wade and I said several times that I understood there were times when abortions are the lesser of two evils. So how you can derive from those statements that I oppose all abortions all the time is frankly beyond me.



You would seek to punish women in the future because your utopian ideal (abortion becoming completely unnecessary/unwanted) has not been met.

Again, with the words in my mouth. I wrote twice above in a double-post, no less, that my point is not that I think Roe v Wade should be struck down, but that it appears it likely will be, and that, given that, we ought to be working toward the society I quoted Adrienne Rich as describing.
This means that, in point of fact, at the end of the day, people who hold the position you seem to be supporting would be the ones "punishing women" because you'll be expending your energies trying to fight to keep Roe v Wade and when it's gone, you'll have left women out in the cold because they will have neither abortion nor a less sexist society or any socil programs set up to help the poor women with their pregnancies/children.

In short, you are an ideologue and you scare me very much.

That's not a very kind thing to say. Why do you think it necessary to insult me?

Enjoy your new Scalito world and all it promises to be.

I know it's all the way at the beginning of the thread, but if you read it, you'll see that once XQUZYPHYR provided a link to some of Alito's rulings, I expressed my reservations about him as a judge. Again, insults are unkind and unproductive.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:28 PM on November 1, 2005


me: In short, you are an ideologue and you scare me very much.

you: That's not a very kind thing to say. Why do you think it necessary to insult me?

I was not trying to insult you. I *do* think you are an ideologue. Should I say otherwise, or just shut up? I guess you think you are not, so let's leave it at that. As for scaring me, all ideologues (left and right) scare me.

Enjoy your new Scalito world and all it promises to be.

That was over the top. I retract it and apologize.


I know this is an emotional issue, and I am willing to forgive some emotional appeals and rhetoric because I know there is a lot of strong feeling on this issue...

I cannot convey this well over the Internet but I am not emotional about this at all.

Well, I am really not interested in going back and forth on the other issues. No way we are going to come to any agreement on them.

Peace.
posted by a_day_late at 7:07 PM on November 1, 2005


But it baffles me that in the thirty years the left has had since that decision, literaly nothng has been done to address the root problems that put most women in the position of wanting/needing an abortion in the first place.
You're joking of course--liberals and moderates have been fighting to ensure the availability of contraceptives, and the dissemination of practical sex ed for decades now. Stopping unwanted pregnancies can only happen thru education and other options. Abstinence-only sex ed, a favorite of the right, is a joke, and leads to more unwanted pregnancies. Stopping morning-after pills, and allowing pharmacists to deny birth control, etc, is all criminal.

And you might call embryos and fetuses children, but the law doesn't, nor does the government.
posted by amberglow at 7:15 PM on November 1, 2005


a_day_late,

apology accepted, no hard feelings.

re: ideologue -- Did you really think I would consider myself an ideologue? That seems strange. I can't see how it was intended as anything but an insult, because I can't see how anybody would describe themslves as an ideologue. And I'm not sure what you mean by it. I suppose that from where you're coming from, people who rigidly hold on to a dogmatic position and sling ad hominems at their debate opponents are not ideologues and people who propose compromise are, but that is, for future reference, the opposite of the way most people use the word.
But if you say it wans't intended as an insult, I'll take your word for it and just point out that insult or not, it was an ad hominem and so not a fair debate tactic.

If you're not arguing from a place of strong feeling, then I have to guess that you're just being lazy or dishonest, since your replies have been filled with gross misrepresentations of my points. It's one thing if you're fired up over this issue and therefore are missing some of what I'm saying; it's entirely another if your dispassionately deciding to ignore what I'm saying in favor of the various straw men you've paraded out.

amberglow,

You're absolutely right about sex education, contraceptives, etc. I was a bit hyperbolic when I said the left has done "nothing." In the wake of Clinton-era Democrats, who have all but abandoned some of the other issues I mentioned (especially issues relating to economics), it just feels like nothing's being done. But you're right -- a lot of people are working hard, and the right has been stonewalling them.

As far as this goes:

And you might call embryos and fetuses children, but the law doesn't, nor does the government.

I hope I don't need to point out that it begs the question, since we're talking about the possibility of the Supreme Court overruling Roe v Wade. The law has, in the past, designated other human beings as something less than human, and it has always been the left who have pushed to change those laws to expand whom the law would protect.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:37 PM on November 1, 2005


i really wouldn't compare an embryo or fetus to a living, breathing human being who is not dependent on another's body for life. There's really no comparison to Dred Scott or any other ruling that is comparable--embryos and fetuses cannot live without the mother's body until very late in the process, and there are restrictions on abortion already.
posted by amberglow at 7:57 PM on November 1, 2005


Ok, somebody might have already said this, but, not talking specifically about Alito, what makes following the strict wording of the Constitutional process the only viable way to judge the way in which a potential judge is selected and approved? In other words, yes, dios's argument is correct in that the process says that the Senate should not decide the matter on ideological grounds, but:

A. Is ignoring ideological grounds fundamentally a good idea, regardless of what strict construction might dictate? The process is there to protect an ideal of some kind, which means that the preservation of that ideal is more important than following the process.

B. The framers could not have been so ignorant of political process and power gathering to assume that appointees would never be judged by their opinions. I don't see how you could conclude anything other than that they had either recognized this and intentionally included it as a check against appointees with extremist ideals, or were idiots.

So I suppose it comes down to what all is in the scope of a "political ends" argument. If a person honestly believes that Antonin Scalia will bring down the fundamental ideals on which the nation is founded, that person may be deluded, but if not they will have a basis for actively opposing his judge....hood...or whatever. It may be a political end, but the entire system was designed to further the political end of democracy, (that sounds pretty funny like that, but you get what I mean),

In theory people who are trying to ensure that highly qualified judges get on the bench are following that process because they think it will accomplish some positive goal, it isn't an end in itself.

.....Nobody is ever going to read this post...
posted by SomeOneElse at 8:23 PM on November 1, 2005


i read it.

it's always ideological--every president tries to nominate people who agree with his views. Congress always acts ideologically too, especially since roe v. wade. What's missing nowadays is the collegiality that used to exist there--things are more polarized, and there are enormous political pressures from all sides, demanding their way or the highway. Highly-qualified is not enough, either for the Presidents appointing them, nor for the various factions wanting the Judiciary to reflect their worldviews. And it's a lifetime thing, so the stakes are very high. Ideally, all presidents would nominate only reasonable, highly-qualified moderates to the Supreme Court, but that's not how it works in real life.
posted by amberglow at 8:37 PM on November 1, 2005


Aside from mentioning that I dont' agree with the qualification that a person has to be able to breathe and eat on their own to deserve protection under the law, I just thought this phrasing was funny:

There's really no comparison to Dred Scott or any other ruling that is comparable

you know, 'cuase if there's a ruling that's comparable, then one can, by definition, make a comparison...

I wasn't referring to Dred Scott in particular, by the way, but the tradition, in general, that the left has always tried to broaden the umbrella of who is protected under the law. Here, as I pointed out above, you're putting forth a definition of what is and isn't human that suits your political ends, which, again, I have a great deal of trouble with, precisely because it is just another in a long line of American political redfinitions. You are free to argue that your redefinition is somehow different, but your argument becomes circular if your basis for why it's different is the redefinition itself.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:39 PM on November 1, 2005


it's not to suit my political ends, but the common legal and governmental definition.

If women lose rights and dominion over their own bodies, then there's far worse damage being done to humans than abortions. The already born take precedence over others who may or may not get a chance to be born.
posted by amberglow at 9:55 PM on November 1, 2005


it's not to suit my political ends, but the common legal and governmental definition.

Meh. Circular reasoning:

Me: the left usually campaigns to change laws that define away people's humanity

You: Yes, but they're not truly human

Me: says you

You: Says the law

My point is still that the law is obviously not infallible, and we have, in our history, used the law to define away the humanity of various groups of people, and the left has, except in this case, always fought on behalf of those groups. And I don't necessarily think that you personally came up with the idea that unborn baies aren't fully human for political expediency, but I do think the left on the whole ignores the glaring contradiction to suit its political ends, and I think that the cognitive dissonance that results in this kind of circular reasoning comes directly from that.

If women lose rights and dominion over their own bodies, then there's far worse damage being done to humans than abortions. The already born take precedence over others who may or may not get a chance to be born.

But the difference between us is that I don't think we have to make that choice as often as you seem to. Very rarely is it an either/or choice. Obviously choices which preserve the life and liberty of both mothers and children are preferable to those that deny one or the other life or liberty.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:27 AM on November 2, 2005


The spousal notification thing is a perfect example of how stupid and vapid the Left has become. This is the worst you can pin on the guy? Why is that requirement so offensive to you? My G-d, gett a grip. It's a perfectly reasonable requirement.

I look forward to the first opinion he writes for the Court.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:11 AM on November 2, 2005


Righto, then. Spousal notification of abusive/drunk/crazy spouse. Spouse disagrees, and beats the living bejesus out of our fictional pregnant woman, who dies as a result. Doctors, in heroic Schwarzenegger "Junior"-style medical breakthrough, implants fetal tissue in husband who was so bugger-all concerned about the fetus instead of the mother......where it grows to term and is born with fetal alcohol poisoning and dies anyway.

(runs)

Seriously. We're never going to have a eustacescrubbs-style utopian society unless we leave the U.S. and go found one ourselves, a la The Mosquito Coast. We can work towards all the good things everyone's listed, like sex ed and morning-after prescriptions that pharmacists will actually fill, and la la la etc. But if we keep getting cockblocked by all these conservatives on each one, bye bye utopia. (Cockblocked, indeed -- you don't see Maine's two Republican women senators pulling this kind of crap). Meanwhile, they'll use their stints in power to keep eroding all the other rights we used to have.

I tire of this argument and welcome our new penis-bearing overlords...oh wait, they're already here.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:37 AM on November 2, 2005


You rock, bitter-girl.com.

That is all.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:51 AM on November 2, 2005


Spousal notification of abusive/drunk/crazy spouse.

Except that the specific provision in question included a number of exceptions to the notification requirement, including an exception for situations in which the woman feared potential abuse as a result of the notification. In that case, the woman need only fill out a form and hand it to the doctor to avoid the notification requirement.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:56 PM on November 2, 2005


Spousal notification is as noxious as that Florida law requiring women to publish public announcements of their past sexual partners in order to put a baby up for adoption.

Hello? Do men have to do that, ever? Except in the context of the frat house or the late night beer bash, is anyone pushing them to disclose how many real, live vaginas they've had the pleasure of meeting? Get real, people. There is a slippery slope, and if we're not vigilant, things will get even worse.

It's a gradual erosion of women's rights, plain and simple. I can't make my husband tell me if he wants to go get a vasectomy, can I? Well, why not? He's impeding my right to get pregnant and have babies, isn't he? Oh, wait. That's HIS vas deferens? Sorry, yo. I thought it belonged to me, me, meeeee.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:05 PM on November 2, 2005


... I'm glad that Casey is the Alito opinion that is drawing so much attention. It's important to remind people that at the base of it, anti-abortion laws are about subjecting female bodily autonomy to male or government control. Scott Lemieux has more. It's also important to understand that the husband notification laws are just that--husband notification. They enshrine marriage as an institution giving men property rights to their wives' uteruses--women are not exempted from the law if they are pregnant by someone other than their husband, and women who aren't married are not covered by the law. ...
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on November 2, 2005


Hey amberglow, if husbands own their wives' uteri, can they sell timeshares in them? There's a pro-prostitution/pimping argument for you!

"But, Your Honor, it belongs to me, why can't I rent it out?"

KIDDING! Oh God, I'm kidding. But if a lawyer managed to make that one work in court, I'd give her a million dollars just for being the undisputed Queen of Sarcasm.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:16 PM on November 2, 2005


"Your" typical...

Fret not, I was just flaging a coloquialism


"Huh??? Are you saying the dems derailed the Miers nomination and thus got maneuvered into this?"

No, I'm saying that, particularly since much, if not most of the opposition to a Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justice is just irrational hatred of Bush, combined with the fun Lefties get out of protesting, having said people spend time and energy on a decoy is an effective way of exhausting them for the real battle. I think that's what "rope-a-dope" is.

Again, spousal notification is, at best, a "reasonable minds can differ" thing. Still waiting for something scary about Alito....
posted by ParisParamus at 2:28 PM on November 2, 2005


"It's a gradual erosion of women's rights, plain and simple. I can't make my husband tell me if he wants to go get a vasectomy, can I?"

How asinine. Did you read the Decision in question? Did you read anything on the subject. It's a NOTIFICATION provision. There was no veto right.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:32 PM on November 2, 2005


Ok, then. Where's the male equivalent? Do men have to notify their wives if they want to do something involving their reproductive organs, and if not, why not? Or is this a separate-and-inequal thing, like the Florida adoption law referenced above?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:48 PM on November 2, 2005


Yes, women are not men, and vice-versa. Get over it. If you don't like that reality, don't copulate.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:55 PM on November 2, 2005


Why am I the one who isn't seeing reality here? Women in Florida who want to give up babies for adoption (presumably your preferred alternative to abortion in cases of unwanted pregnancy...which I'm sure are always the woman's fault, temptresses that we are) have to PUBLISH THEIR SEXUAL HISTORIES IN THE PAPER in order to do so. If they happen to know them, should they publish their partner's history as well? No? Well, why not? Boys will be boys but we're all Hester Prynne?

Why do women have to bear every single bit of responsibility for unwanted pregnancy? Pills fail. Condoms break. Rapists rape. Pharmacists won't fill morning-after prescriptions. Shit happens. And when it does, "women are not men" / "just don't have sex" are all you have to say about it?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2005


"It's a gradual erosion of women's rights..."

Actually, it's the exact opposite. It's a gradual insistence that women take responsibility for their being and conduct.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:05 PM on November 2, 2005


You have seriously got to be kidding me, right?

Oh yeah, I forgot. It's always our fault! (Eve, apple, serpent...) Until I pop out that cash cow and have the DNA test that forces you to pay me child support for the next 18 years -- that's the only time men get called on the carpet for THEIR role in creating a pregnancy -- you have no right to determine what does or does not happen in my body.

I'd even argue that women *are* taking responsibility for their "being and conduct" if they choose not to continue an unwanted pregnancy. If they don't have the ability to care for their child, and don't feel like playing the probate court babydaddy lottery game, then what? Adoption? Uh huh. Because our adoption / foster care setup in this country is just *dying* for more kids to place, having run out of older and handicapped children without homes just last Tuesday. Give me a break.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:15 PM on November 2, 2005


It's nice that we can have this abortion debate all over again and all, but it's really a departure from the issue being discussed: Alito's nomination. Judge Alito's concurrence/dissent in Casey did not in any way suggest that the Roe should be overturned; indeed, he applied precisely the undue burden analysis recommended by Justice O'Connor. The result of the analysis was that there were sufficient exceptions and protections built into the law to pass constitutional muster. It was a very close call, and frankly, not even close to overruling Roe.

Any time you examine the record of an appellate judge, you will see results in cases that are politically unpalatable. It doesn't often tell you much about the judge. For example, consider the radical record of this judge:
  • Wrote an opinion prohibiting the use of any state-owned facilities for abortions, possibly right down to the public water supply - and in the process looked forward to the day when the Supreme Court could "reexamine Roe."
  • Voted to uphold burdensome abortion requirements like a 24-hour waiting period and a rule that second-trimester abortions had to be done in hospitals - and wrote that Roe's central holding should be eviscerated.
  • Voted to bar the federal government from banning guns near schools, and from protecting women against sexual assault.
  • Wrote that it should be unconstitutional for the federal government to provide minimum wage and overtime protections to city workers.
  • Wrote an opinion allowing inflammatory evidence into death penalty sentencing hearings that was not relevant to the defendant's blameworthiness - leading dissenting colleagues to decry the "radical" result as the exercise of "power, not reason."
Was this Alito? No. Scalio? No. A judge that even many conservatives view as far-right-wing, like Pryor or Rogers? No. This is the record of Justice O'Connor. But guess what? You have to look at more than just the results in a few cases to understand what makes a judge tick.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:18 PM on November 2, 2005


... Alito has demonstrated very clearly that, when it comes to restricting the right to challenge a law, he is very narrow about who has that right; but when it comes to restricting the rights of groups of people, he is very broad. There is no doubt at all that he is against abortion. Since the entire point of the Supreme Court (and indeed, the Constitution) is to safeguard the rights of minorities--rights that, by definition, might not be exercised by most people, rights that wouldn't constitute an "undue burden" for most people if you denied them--then Alito is unfit for the job. ...
posted by amberglow at 10:42 PM on November 2, 2005




Didn't want to start a new thread for this, but thought it might be of interest: One liberal's positive view of Alito.

Apologies for the dederail. You can go back to talking about abortion now.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2005




For what it's worth, amberglow, I do think Alito's failure to recuse in the Vanguard case is problematic, and the Committee should grill him on it. Maybe there's an explanation for it, but it's certainly not obvious.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:36 PM on November 3, 2005


Thanks for that post monju_bosatsu, very interesting.
posted by loquax at 2:15 PM on November 3, 2005


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