<\body> Stories in America: Dems Vote No on Alito

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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.


At 1/24/2006 10:15 AM, Blogger Archie Levine said...

Here's the letter I sent Lindsey Graham today, I'd like to suggest you and your readers also contact the Good Senator:

Dear Senator Graham,

I watched the vote of the Judiciary Committee this morning, and I heard your speech before casting your vote.

How can you and fellow conservative Republicans point a finger at Democrats and accuse them of playing "party politics" with this nomination, with destroying the fabric of civility, and with dragging the nomination process to new lows by using it to prepare for the NEXT election....and in the SAME speech also admonish the Democrats for being surprised by Alito's nomination when the President had promised in his presidential campaign to nominate judges exactly like Alito to the Supreme Court?

If you are looking for hypocrisy, you need look no further than your own party.

Further, how could you have forgotten that it was only back in October that it was consrvative Republicans, not Democrats, who kept Harriet Myers from even having because you felt that she did not represent a fulfilment of your the President's campaign promise you mentioned today?

As you yourself commented, George W. Bush ran on changing the court. If you want to admonish someone for playing politics with the nomination process and the judiciary, start there.

The issue of Abortion is not the fight for the freedom to kill unborn children, it is about privacy, self-determination, and the right to be left alone by the government in the most intimate decisions a person can make. And the right to privacy is going to be central to many of the war related cases which will be coming before the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, it is the height of hypocrisy to claim that the Democrats are preparing for an election by opposing this nomination and then to make a campaign speech yourself.

If you truly wish a return to civility to the process and to regain the respect of the American electorate, you might consider starting by dropping the "Bring it On" rhetoric used by yourself, your President, and and your Party.

I am ashamed of you, sir. And I am afraid of the direction you and your brand of ultra conservatives are taking this nation.

I love my country, and am proud to be an American...and it is this, and only this, which motivates me to write you today. Claiming that disagreement with you and the President is somehow anti-American is to demonstrate a lack of understanding of what America is.

The President is not the Nation, the Nation is not the President. The founders created checks and balances to keep us from the abuses of power, seeking to undermine those checks and balances through judicial nomination is tantamount to treason.

I urge you to reconsider your support of this nominee and to vote against his confirmation, in order to clear the path for a Justice which will fairly and imartially adjudicate from the bench, rather than simply fulfil what you yourself have called a campaign promise of a political candidate. If you honestly believe that politics should have no role in this process, then there can be no other choice for you.

Thank you for your time, and consideration. I pray that God will guide you to make the right choice.

At 1/24/2006 12:28 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not sure liberals should wish for more media coverage of protest marches.

Just not sure this sort of "reaching out" would be all that productive...


At 1/24/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Yeah, the Raging Grannies and Code Pink are hurting the cause. Michael Savage called all the marchers lesbians. Good one. How creative. It's easies to focus on the people who crash windows or hold silly signs than it is to write about the issues at stake. If you did your homework, you would have learned that Planned Parenthood SF decided not to partake in the march because they didn't want to be associated with a screaming match. Three cheers for freedom of speech. Take advantage of it while you still can. I went to the RNC protest in NY and free speech wasn't allowed unless you stood in the "free speech zone."

At 1/24/2006 1:50 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Well, I didn't say Planned Parenthood had partaken in the march.

But yeah, I agree, Michael Savage is a tool.

At 1/24/2006 2:03 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Yeah, but the point is that it's so easy to pick and choose. I think the blackblock does way more harm than good. I know lots of progressives who encourage them to stop the vandalim because it doesn't help the cuase. Lots of people hold signs that have nothing to do with the issue at hand. I'm glad United for Peace & Justice parted ways with ANSWR. Highlighting communist groups isn't going to attract the mainstream.
I can't believe I quoted Savage, but a friend who is obsessed with yelling at him in the car had him on last night. Funny how all of these liberal haters live in liberal towns.

At 1/25/2006 7:42 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

Funny how all of these liberal haters live in liberal towns.

Just like multiculturalists -- Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society.


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