Dems Vote No on Alito
All Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted no on the Alito confirmation. Now the vote goes to the full Senate. There's still time to urge your Senator to support a fillibuster: 877.851.6437
Senator Biden said he objected to Alito's "expansive" view of presidential authority and his "activism" in interpreting congressional acts. In addition, he lacks an understanding and sympathy to the victims of discrimination. "Prejudice is still around," said Biden. "No words but old sins."
"There are many many many people in this country who would have had 90 to 100 votes in the Senate. I try very hard not to have partisan votes on Supreme Court nominees. Think how much better it would have been if Pres. Bush had sought any one of dozens of highly qualified people...all of whom would have gotten an overwhelming vote from the Senate," said Senator Leahy. "This is a time in our history when the protection of Americans' liberty is at risk," he said. "The Supreme Court is the ultimate check and balance in our system." Alito, he said, "failed" that test in his answers and in his past conduct. Leahy said he had voted for many Republican nominees but "this is a bridge too far."
Here's an editorial from the New York Times:
He has a radically broad view of the president's power, and a radically narrow view of Congress's power. He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy.
Judge Alito may be a fine man, but he is not the kind of justice the country needs right now. Senators from both parties should oppose his nomination.
It is likely that Judge Alito was chosen for his extreme views on presidential power. The Supreme Court, with Justice O'Connor's support, has played a key role in standing up to the Bush administration's radical view of its power, notably that it can hold, indefinitely and without trial, anyone the president declares an "unlawful enemy combatant."
Judge Alito would no doubt try to change the court's approach. He has supported the fringe "unitary executive" theory, which would give the president greater power to detain Americans and would throw off the checks and balances built into the Constitution. He has also put forth the outlandish idea that if the president makes a statement when he signs a bill into law, a court interpreting the law should give his intent the same weight it gives to Congress's intent in writing and approving the law.
Judge Alito would also work to reduce Congress's power in other ways. In a troubling dissent, he argued that Congress exceeded its authority when it passed a law banning machine guns, and as a government lawyer he insisted Congress did not have the power to protect car buyers from falsified odometers.
There is every reason to believe, based on his long paper trail and the evasive answers he gave at his hearings, that Judge Alito would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it is hard to see how Senators Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, all Republicans, could square support for Judge Alito with their commitment to abortion rights.
Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.
The White House has tried to create an air of inevitability around this nomination. But there is no reason to believe that Judge Alito is any more popular than the president who nominated him. Outside of a small but vocal group of hard-core conservatives, America has greeted the Alito nomination with a shrug - and counted on senators to make the right decision.
The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O'Connor's seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.