<\body> Stories in America: Alito's Nomination

Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito's Nomination

*People For the American Way has released its final pre-confirmation hearing report analyzing the record and legal philosophy of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr. The comprehensive report reviews Judge Alito's public record as both a judge and an executive branch official, and identifies the sharp contrasts between the mainstream conservative legal positions often taken by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and the hard-right ideology Judge Alito has demonstrated throughout his career.

The 155-page report thoroughly examines Judge Alito's writings and decisions in a variety of areas, including civil rights, First Amendment issues, executive power, reproductive freedom, religious liberty and the power of the federal government to protect citizens. It analyzes controversial cases in which Alito's court was divided, assesses his dissents and notes rulings that earned sharp disagreement from his colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit or other courts. The report concludes that, if confirmed, Alito would join Justices Scalia and Thomas in a radical, right-wing bloc out of line with the values of mainstream Americans.

"While Judge Alito is a mild-mannered and soft-spoken man, his far-right ideology would bring radical change to the Supreme Court, tipping the balance that Justice O'Connor's swing vote provided on key issues," said PFAW President Ralph G. Neas. "Alito's ideology threatens rights and liberties Americans have come to cherish, and his long record provides clear, compelling evidence that the Senate should reject his nomination."

Among the report's findings and conclusions:

He is the most frequent dissenter on the Third Circuit, and the overwhelming majority of his dissents favor a right-wing perspective.

In civil rights cases where the Third Circuit was divided, Alito has advocated positions detrimental to civil rights 85 percent of the time.

Throughout his career, Judge Alito has shown a strong predilection to concentrate power in the executive branch and the President, eroding governmental checks and balances and diminishing the rights of private citizens.

As a government lawyer and a federal judge, Judge Alito has consistently failed to protect civil rights. He has said he disagrees with historic Supreme Court decisions articulating the 'one person - one vote' principle.

His ultraconservative ideology would undermine an enormous range of laws Americans rely on, including civil rights protections, health and safety standards in the workplace, regulations protecting air and water quality, and even the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs.
More than his colleagues on the Third Circuit, Judge Alito has sided with corporations and government entities accused of discrimination. Several analyses of his record by academics and the news media indicate that he consistently sides with powerful entities against individuals.

*The Lawyers Guild said that Judge Alito's previous judicial decisions and published statements demonstrate that his presence on the Supreme Court will not benefit ordinary Americans. With respect to personal liberty, Alito takes an extremely narrow view of what the Constitution protects, as reflected in his opinion sanctioning the strip search without a warrant of a ten-year old girl. With respect to religious freedom, he has not insisted upon the separation of church and state, as required by the First Amendment. With respect to the regulation of dangerous industries, he ruled that Congress does not have the authority to make the possession of machine guns illegal. With respect to labor, he ruled that despite a Congressional statute authorizing it, state workers had no ability to sue for unpaid sick leave. With respect to the environment, he made it more difficult to sue polluters under the Clean Water Act. With respect to employment discrimination, Alito favors rules that make it more difficult for women and minorities to sue. With respect to corporate power, he has ruled against anti-trust remedies. With respect to one person – one vote, Alito has said that he disagrees with Reynolds v. Sims, a leading case establishing this principle.

Michael Avery, President of the Guild, declared, "We are particularly concerned that Samuel Alito will not impose necessary limits on presidential power and insist upon the checks and balances required by the Constitution. His long membership in the Federalist Society and his writings demonstrate that he believes in the Imperial Presidency, which is unfortunately what George W. Bush has been trying to create." Avery noted that, "Appointing such a person to the Supreme Court is a terrible risk at a time when the President is asserting an unprecedented ability to act outside the Constitution and contrary to the wishes of the other branches, as demonstrated by the illegal electronic surveillance he has admitted authorizing." The Guild noted that, as documented by the Alliance for Justice, Alito has been extraordinarily deferential to the exercise of power by the executive branch and government officials.


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