Monday, January 09, 2006

The Alito War Begins

Today's New York Times editorial page includes op-ed's by 6 individuals, each with 5 questions for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. I like the cross-section of persons selected, and think most of the questions are interesting. I don't know that Alito should have to answer any of them as a test of his worthiness to serve on the Court.

Yesterday's NYT included a really stupid editorial with this line: "...the Senate has a duty to delve into the many areas in which Judge Alito's record suggests he is an extremist." This is just the start of a wonderful piece. From the definition of extremist found in the American Heritage Dictionary: One who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm, especially in politics. Lets look at the editorial piece-by-piece, and see if we agree that Alito is an extremist after all.
  • Abortion: The Times writes that Alito has worked to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to a 12/18/05 ABC News Washington Post poll, 40% of Americans polled think Abortion should be illegal in most of all cases. That is a higher percentage of Americans than voted for Bill Clinton in the 1992 Presidential Election! Democrats would never call his supporters extremists, would they?
  • Presidential Power: The NYT brings in the wiretapping issue even though Alito has nothing to do with it. They imply that he would support such an operation. Seeing how the legality of the issue has not been established, and Alito himself has made no statement, this argument falls flat. Furthermore, according to a Rasmussen Poll, 64% of Americans support the President on the wiretap question. As to the issue of intent of the signer of legislation vs. intent of the legislation's author, I really don't see the radical argument carrying any weight.
  • Congressional Power: The editorial claims that Alito is seeking to limit the power of Congress. Is this such a bad thing? Particularly when the limitation on Federal lawmakers empowers state lawmakers? Alito expressed a view that supports the idea that state governments should make some of these decisions. The NYT would have you believe that he thinks no law should be passed with respect to either of those questions. That is simply untrue. Maybe he's just been reading a little thing called the 10th Amendment.
  • One Person, One Vote: The Times takes the reapportionment issue to mean that to question the court's rulings on the matter is to question whether "One person, One vote" is a worthy goal. Even some people in favor of abortion rights question the Constitutional merits of Roe v. Wade. Why isn't it possible to do the same with regard to reapportionment? Questioning past rulings is no indication of extremism.

The Times is reaching on this one:

Judicial nominations are not always motivated by ideology, but the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito certainly was.

So what? It is the president's prerogative. If Alito is ideologically pleasing and well qualified, which he is, then that is the President's good fortune, and our's as well. As to whether Alito is an extremist, I don't think we have to spell it out any further.


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