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I just wanted to post a dairy pertaining to some comments I made yesterday.  Below the fold is the rhetorical case against Judge Alito that joan reports, Adam B, and I came up with (and I thank them very much for their help):

So where will a Justice Alito take our journey of human dignity?  With ever-increasing threats to liberty and the protections of human dignity, a Justice Alito expand liberty and the protections of human dignity, or will he restrict them?  Will he have the courage to do the unpopular?  Will a Justice Alito be able to see injustice, and search to provide constitutional relief for those seeking justice, or will he be indifferent to injustice?

Sadly, based on Judge Alito's record, we are left to conclude the following:  that in light of ever-increasing threats to human dignity, a Justice Alito would restrict the protections of human dignity; that Judge Alito's approach to the law, while plausible, places an insurmountable burden of proof on the people who seek relief from injustice; that he affords individuals niggardly rights, and lets injustices stand unrectified.

We deserve a nominee who has a greater sense of justice.  Judge Alito lacks the sense of justice we expect in a Supreme Court nominee.

We should ask questions pertaining to this rhetorical case.  I posted some questions I have for Judge Alito here (links to links involved).  Again, remember the old Adam B quote:  If you want to kill a snake, you don't poke it in 20 different places -- you chop off its head.  This mechanical "I disagree with the nominee's jurisprudence on issues A, B, C, D, ..., the nominee holds extreme views on issues X, Y, Z, ..., the nominee won't provide information on issues  AA, AB, AC, ..., and I therefore will vote 'no'" isn't going to cut it.  Stay focused on the case at hand.

Please feel free to alter the case against Judge Alito if you desire and post any questions you have for Judge Alito if you wish.  Remember, Senate staff reads this, so please act mature and serious.  Thank you.

Originally posted to jim bow on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:33 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips, recs, etc. (none)
    For further reading, here is what the Washington Post wrote in an editorial why the Senate should reject Robert Bork's nomination to the Supreme Court:

    Judge Bork has retained from his academic days an almost frightening detachment from, not to say indifference toward, the real-world consequences of his views; he plays with ideas, seeks tidiness, and in the process does not seem to care who is crushed.  . . . . What people . . . needed . . . was simple assurance that, in addition to the forensic brilliance, the personal integrity, and the care of the law, Robert Bork's moral sensibility could be engaged . . . that he had a feeling for justice, not just for the law. They are not always the same.

    The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

    by jim bow on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:40:44 AM PST

  •  Just to add (none)
    I think Alito's within the mainstream of contemporary conservative jurisprudence.  But he needs to prove that he's willing to take a role in contemporary American jurisprudence that understand that the Constitution is intended to protect and defend human dignity and equality in an everchanging world . . .
    •  I agree (none)
      There's no question that Judge Alito is within the mainstream of conservative jurisprudence and that his views are plausible.  But that is not the question.  The question is do his views do justice?

      If the Supreme Court were merely an intellectual contest with the real-world consequences equivalent to the result of a baseball game, I would reluctantly vote for him.  But it's not that way.  As then-Judge Souter observed in his opening statement, "no matter what we do, someone will be deeply affected by the decisions we make."  He said that he also learned that being a judge requires one to use not only one's mind but also one's heart.  This has served him well.  (Personally, I wish his heart were as big as his predecessor, Justice Brennan, but his heart is certainly bigger than most of the Supreme Court Justices.)

      I think your point seems a bit too intellectual and doesn't talk to the American people.  That's what joan reports advised me to do -- talk to the people and not intellectuals -- when she helped me with this.

      Right now, I have to go to a meeting at work, and will be back in an hour.

      The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

      by jim bow on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 06:58:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Talking to the people (none)
        Try this:

        Judge Alito needs to prove that he understands the human impact of the decisions he makes.  Because he has worked on the side of the government his whole life, it's unclear whether he understands how it feels to be someone needing government to protect her and do justice on her behalf.

        •  Gosh (none)
          Both these are excellent statements.  I change my mind, and want to keep both.  Now we just have to figure how to incorporate these statements into the text.

          Thank you very much for your thoughtfullness, Adam.

          The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

          by jim bow on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:51:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  IANAL, but it seems to me you might make use of (none)
            O'Connor's Kelo dissent as an example of how Alito will differ.
            ... she stressed in Kelo that the beneficiaries of the majority opinion "are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power .... As for the victims, the Government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more." In her view, "[t]he Founders cannot have intended this perverse result." Justice O'Connor's differing conclusions in Midkiff and Kelo thus seemingly exemplify her general sensitivity to the facts of a case and her resistance to hard-and-fast rules. (Link)
  •  My recollection of the Bork hearings (none)
    The thing that seemed to really do Bork in, as I recall, was not so much his position on particular issues. It was the image of him as an ivory tower academic, disconnected from the human condition. (The beard underlined this.) He was clearly excited about the opportunity to explore the subtleties of Constitutional theory -- but appeared to have no interest in the effects of Court rulings on Americans.

    So yes, Jim, you may be onto something with this approach.


    •  Or the way he responded ... (none)
      ... when Sen. Simpson (R-Wyo.) asked him why he wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice.  Judge Bork responded that he thought it would be an intellectual challenge, and he wanted to join in what he thought would be an "intellectual feast."  There was nothing about doing justice.

      The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

      by jim bow on Mon Jan 09, 2006 at 07:47:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bork's problem... (none)
      wasn't that he was conservative.  Had he simply been conservative (even hyper-conservative), he probably would have been confirmed with ease.  His problem was that he was (and even moreso now, is) an asshole who wanted to prove that he was the smartest guy in the room.  This, understandably, rubbed the Senators the wrong way.

      Folks have learned from this--witness Roberts' performance in his hearing, which, regardless of whether or not you agreed with what he was saying, was pretty much flawless from a rhetorical/presentation standpoint.

  •  Reasons to vote against Alito (none)
    From my perspective its enough that he's a Republican.

    There is a basic difference between Republicans and Democrats. Democrats chose people over corporations, freedom over security in adherence to law, and sharing over selfishness. Republicans are just the opposite.

    Its impossible for a judge to be a competent administrator of peoples rights if he doesn't believe they should have rights to begin with.

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