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Warning About Alito

Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Lots more on the Alito nomination today. I'm pleased that the coverage has moved away from glowing statements about what a nice man he is - which was the focus during the Roberts nomination. Frankly it doesn't matter whether I'd like to have a beer for someone if they'd be willing to let the President through me in jail without a trial.

The first thing I noticed when scanning the headlines this morning was that the Washington Post and New York Times had written identical articles about the Bushies' effort to win over "red-state" Democratic Senators like Tim Johnson, Mark Pryor, Ben Nelson, and Max Baucus. This certainly makes sense for the White House is they want to avoid a filibuster. But I have a two words for those Senators: Max Cleland. It doesn't matter to those people if you support them on key legislation, they will still deploy all of their resources into trying to destroy you. All you'll be doing is letting them treat you like a bitch.

There was also a quote I heard last night on Lehrer and read again this morning from soon to be ex-Senator Mike DeWine: "He [DeWine] called Alito 'clearly within the mainstream of conservative thought.'" Excuse me, but that's exactly what I'm afraid of. Conservative thought these days (if I can honor their quasi-fascist pseudo-intellectual meanderings "thinking") isn't what anyone would call mainstream. A better word for it would be "lunatic."

You want a specific example? Well to risk letting the debate over this nomination become solely about abortion (and I agree with many of my fellow bloggers that we need to make this a more braod-brush critique), there is an excellent set of articles about Alito's legal philosophy. The first is that, whatever his rulings while on the Circuit Court, he is likely to vote to overturn to Roe; and the other is his reliance on a traditional notion of marriage.

The first article simply points out that any pro-Roe rulings on the Circuit Court are hardly indications of Alito's true opinion, because in that capacity he was bound by Supreme Court precedent. If he is elevated to the bench, he is liberated from that concern.

The second article sent up all kinds of red flags. If Alito's idea of a traditional marriage is what I think it is (and his ruling in the Casey decision indicates that it is), then this guy merits sexual harassment classes, not an appointment to the Supreme Court. The "traditional marriage" as conservatives define it is in many ways an institutionalized form of discrimination against women, and has proven to be one of the greatest barriers to gender equity and childrens' rights. The legal notion of marriage in the modern era is that of two equals agreeing to co-habitate, share property rights, and (if they choose) share custody of children. The "traditional" notion is that a woman goes from the domination of her father to the rule of her husband, and that he chief function is to provide sexual and housekeeping services to her husband as well as to make babies.

Alito's decision in Casey, where he suggested that a husband has a legal claim on the uterus of his wife, certainly points in the latter direction. This places him squarely in the Theocon camp and way, way outside of where most Americans are. So no more claptrap about his "mainstream" character, please.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 7:28 AM
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