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I'm not sure whether I think an Alito filibuster is wise, but with a little tweaking, this post from Legal Fiction offers an excellent justification.

Publius argues that a filibuster probably wouldn't hurt anyone, because most people don't care about Alito.  He doesn't mention this Pew poll from earlier this month, but the fact that 48% of the public had no opinion on his confirmation and that a mere 14% were paying close attention to his hearings is evidence enough that there isn't a lot of political cost involved in making a fuss over Alito.

The fact that Americans aren't paying attention means they don't know about these things.  The fact that he justified a warrantless strip search of a 10 year old child should outrage people, but only if they know about it.

I've spent some time already at Thoughts from Kansas laying out my problems with Alito, his attitude toward women, his ability to ignore the presence of racism, his preference for machine guns over judicial restraint, his lack of concern for working families, his support for summary executions, to name a few.  When people come into his court with an inherent societal disadvantage, they tend to come out with that same disadvantage, and that's not what justice should look like.

The filibuster will force people to pay a little more attention.  Many people, forgetting the lesson Hannah Arendt taught us, think that the banality of the hearings means Judge Alito is not evil, is not the wrong man for the job, and is not going to mess with their lives.

If the hearings lacked the spice to get people involved in an important matter, maybe a filibuster is the way.  Filibuster is meant to offer time for debate.  Let's have that debate.

Originally posted to jrosenau on Wed Jan 25, 2006 at 04:03 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Filibuster until the GOP bites the bullet (none)
    I agree completely with your assessment.  In the same way democrats preserved the filibuster last session, they must now use it one last time to preserve the republic.  The constitutional rights at stake are fundamental and sacred to our way of life and our form of government.  As one who lost a great-grandmother to a home abortion, I understand the finality and the pain a lack of abortion rights caused my family.  My 77-year-old grandmother still tears up when speaking of the mother she never really knew whose life ended in the depression.  Alito while mild-mannered and polite, is still a hard-hearted and right wing jurist hell bent on transforming our laws and constitutional protections to conform to reactionary fantasies.  He should not be confirmed.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by trevorwells on Wed Jan 25, 2006 at 04:27:11 PM PST

  •  Interesting that you mentioned Arendt (none)
    because her famous statement about the modern "banality of evil" was something that occured to me during the hearings.

    For one thing, while not in any way saying that he's just as evil, Alito reminded me a bit of Adolf Eichmann (the Nazi beaurocrat who basically made the Holocaust possible from a logistical point of view and who was captured, tried, convicted and executed by Israel in 1961, in reference to whom she made this statement), because he seemed to display some of Eichmann's infamous lack of emotion and apparent concern for the rights and well-being of others.

    The "empathy gene" seems to be defective in Alito, as it was with Eichmann (although, of course, Milgram's famous experiment demonstrated that it's not necessarily dominant in any of us), and he gave the appearance of someone who could fairly easily make a binding decision that could adversely and unjustly (from a moral point of view) affect millions of people, and not really feel a thing, hiding behind the age-old and despicable excuse of "I was just doing my job".

    I totally agree that a filibuster, whether or not one believes that it's a smart and necessary thing to do from a political perspective (I do) or that it could succeed (I do) or would be worth the potential political costs win or lose (I do), would also be a smart thing to do in terms of being the perfect means of getting the word out on Alito and letting Americans know just who this man is, and what he would do on the court, if confirmed. In fact, a filibuster is probably the ONLY way of getting the word out, as the media just hasn't been helpful at all.

    I say go for it. But I've been saying that all along.

    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

    by kovie on Wed Jan 25, 2006 at 04:29:16 PM PST

  •  Let's move on. (none)
    A filibuster would negatively impact the Democrats this fall.

    Instead, we should be thinking about how we got in this jam.

    Perhaps if Kerry and other major Dems would have publicly and strongly censured the likes of Whoopi after her vulgar remarks, we may have won the last election.

    As a moderate Democrat, my stomach turned after I heard Whoopi's illfated remarks/gestures.  I was certain that many in the Heartland would be repulsed.

    I do believe that Alito represents a threat to the US.  But I believe that continued GOP success in races represents an even more dire threat.

    Let's cut our losses, and move on.

    •  Taking a stand (none)
      I think you exaggerate Hollywood's comments and their effects on voting.

      Furthermore, we're all pretty much aware of how we got here. It primarily has to do with faulty machines and a subversion of democracy. The GAO report said as much. While no one may be able to prove that the elction was faulty purposefully, make no mistake about it, it was faulty.

      Thirdly, I'm a bit confused. You say you believe Alito is a threat and think it is perfectly okay not to oppose him, instead oppose elected Republicans? That's almost as faulty as the Republican logic of fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. As if, the two are mutually exclusive. They aren't in either case. If we fight them over there, it does not preclude them from attacking here. We still require a Homeland security plan. Just like if we oppose Alito, we can still make an argument about the Republican culture of corruption. Indeed, Alito's opinion on Presidential power may be pivotal on wiretapping if placed on the SCOTUS . There comes a time when you have to stand against threats. That time is now. I'm not willing to "cut and run".

    •  cutting losses (none)
      I think that a lot of Democratic losses derive from insufficient firmness of conviction.  That makes it easy to paint Dems as anti-, rather than pro-.  

      I don't know if a filibuster would succeed, or how long it would last, but it would be a chance for Democrats to insist that a Democratic vision for the judiciary is presented.  Even if we lose on Alito, that fight is a victory if it makes a few people see the Democratic party in a different way.

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