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October 31, 2005

It's Not About Alito

My initial reactions to Alito are very. very bad. Some of my colleagues are more sanguine, but this truly does seem like the nominee we were all fearing. Alito is the reason I wanted to confirm Miers. We can argue back-and-forth over how much power the Supreme Court actually wields, but whether you believe them the most powerful branch or consigned to the margins, you still don't want them ruling the wrong way. This is a guy, then, who's fundamentally opposed to most everything I believe in, who advocates positions that I judge insane and strikes down laws (like the Family and Medical Leave Act) that're the bare minimum of what society should promise its citizens.

The Supreme Court is a symbolic institution. And the visions pursued by those perched there matter. Alito's vision of America is a dark place, and Democrats should be sure that voters know it. We may not be able to stop this nominee, but there are other ways to win the fight. Alito may prove more useful if rammed onto the Court atop voter objections. If we can win the debate about his ideology and force Republicans to rally round and confirm an unpopular nominee, he may prove more troublesome for them in success than failure. For decades now, Democrats have been losing the argument on Roe, getting tooled on the desirability of regulations, and being generally smoked on judicial issues because winning in the Courts had allowed us freedom to indulge losses in the public arena. Alito, if played right, can change that. The media attention will be there, the paper trail is there, and the stories of women with abusive husbands and workers who needed time off for medical treatment abound. This isn't about Alito, it's about competing visions for the country.

October 31, 2005 | Permalink

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» Alito Shuffle from protein wisdom
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Tracked on Nov 1, 2005 12:03:57 PM

Comments

"Alito may prove more useful if rammed onto the Court atop voter objections."

Bush (R) - 59,834,866 votes
Kerry (D) - 56,373,514 votes

The voters already decided which direction the court should go.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Oct 31, 2005 1:48:38 PM

"Alito may prove more useful if rammed onto the Court atop voter objections."

No.

This is utterly the wrong way to think about this. Thinking this way leads to the darkest depths of political calculations.

It may "prove more useful" to the Democratic Party if he gets rammed up there - fine, whatever. That means he's still on the court and can enforce his view of the law with his buddies Scalia and Thomas. And I find it hard to believe that anyone would think that the Dems were worth voting for as a Party (not as individuals, mind you) if they can't find a voice and take this to the furthest that they can take it.

It will "prove more useful" to the women and men of America if some backroom deal gets cut between the moderate Republicans and the Dems and he's fillibustered out of the process without a nuking.

Posted by: NonyNony | Oct 31, 2005 1:56:17 PM

Hey Toke -- tell me again what happened to Harriet Miers? Social Security privatization? Bush did win the election, right?

Posted by: Ezra | Oct 31, 2005 2:00:51 PM

"It will "prove more useful" to the women and men of America if some backroom deal gets cut between the moderate Republicans and the Dems and he's fillibustered out of the process without a nuking."

Now that is some wishful thinking. Alito has the backing of the conservatives. Republicans (with a few exceptions) are going to back Alito. I am sure he will get a few Democrat votes to confirm as well.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Oct 31, 2005 2:01:17 PM

Ezra,
I am glad you brought up Harriet Miers. Harriet Miers went against Bush's campaign promise on judges, so she withdrew(under pressure).

We don't blindly follow our leadership. Remember the silence and defence of Clinton by the feminists? It cost the feminists any credibility they had. They are a joke now if they try to claim Republicans are sexist or don't respect women. All you have to do is say Clinton's name and you won that argument.

That is one difference between the parties.

As far as SSI? I guess you can't win them all. But history will smile on Bush when SSI is addressed because everyone will realize there is (and was) a big problem that would have been better the earlier it was dealt with. Bush tried.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Oct 31, 2005 2:08:23 PM

We don't blindly follow our leadership. Remember the silence and defence of Clinton by the feminists? It cost the feminists any credibility they had. They are a joke now if they try to claim Republicans are sexist or don't respect women. All you have to do is say Clinton's name and you won that argument.

Thanks, Cap -- I truly needed the laugh, and I think it's insanely funny that you probably actually believe this.

Posted by: nolo | Oct 31, 2005 2:53:02 PM

I would be interested in some analysis on why Alito's reasoning is wrong on some of the cases where you don't like what he said.

Not just 'Alito hates women' but why, based upon Supreme Court precident at the time he wrote that opinion he was way off base, or even a little 'off base.'

Roe v. Wade was never (and still is never) any abortion, any time, no possible legislative controls. What those limits are has been debated at many levels, and the Supreme Court has been unclear and it is an evolving standard in many ways, but Alito was bound at the time he wrote that decision to follow court precident as best he could, and defer to the legislature if what the legislature wrote was constitutional, whether or not is was good policy.

Did Alito do that? If not, where and how did he fail? Note that having the court change it's mind, or clarify later does not mean necessarily that Alito was wrong, if he ruled correctly on existing precident but the court changed the rules, which of course the Supreme Court can do.

You can still oppose him, even if he didn't do things 'wrong' on the grounds that you believe what he will do when he has more power, which he will have as a Supreme Court member, would be wrong. I think though that saying he has a dark vision without explaining where he went wrong without outlining your reasoning, based upon law, is kind of weak.

See the Ann Althouse post on the Family and Medical leave ruling for an example, in the opposite direction of course, on the sort of analysis I am talking about.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Oct 31, 2005 2:57:21 PM

Harriet Miers went against Bush's campaign promise on judges, so she withdrew(under pressure).

Thats it? Thats the best defense against what happened to her by your own party that you can come up with? Whatever happened to let the nominee get an up or down vote?

Fact is, your position is fine when a nominee fits YOUR mold, not when he/she fits the President's. The President wanted to break his campaign promise. The President's mold is friends first, princples second. Crony first, conservative second. Nothing changed over the weekend. Not a thing.

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 31, 2005 4:49:25 PM

But..but -- you said this was about Bush's vote totals! And Miers is who he wanted to pick! And oh my god, I'm so confused...

Posted by: Ezra | Oct 31, 2005 5:30:47 PM

Isn't the solution to the problem of women with abusive husbands to,
you know, arrest and prosecute those husbands? Is allowing essentially unlimited access to abortions that
sweep the immediate problem under the rug so the danger and
reality of abuse ignored by the community while the woman
silently suffers a wrongheaded way to address the problem?

Posted by: Peter | Oct 31, 2005 8:46:45 PM

"Whatever happened to let the nominee get an up or down vote?"

She withdrew. She could have had an up or down vote had she stuck it out. She was weak candidate for the SCOTUS.

"But..but -- you said this was about Bush's vote totals! And Miers is who he wanted to pick! And oh my god, I'm so confused..."

Like I said before, conservatives don't blindly follow Republican leaders or ignore their misdeeds "for the good of the party". I know it is foreign to you guys(lack of intellectual honesty), but when Republican leaders make a mistake, we let them know.

Who complains most about the border situation and who supports The Minutemen? Conservatives do. And Bush is way off on the border issue.

Conservatives don't walk in lockstep with the Republican leadership "for the good of the party".

Posted by: Captain Toke | Oct 31, 2005 10:25:28 PM

I was sort of hoping Miers would go through to. Because I knew if she didn't, we'd end up with Scalito

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