It always amazes me how the Right Wing insists they want judges like Antonin Scalia and then when Democrats liken conservative nominees to Scalia they have hissy fits complaining about the comparisons. Now I certainly think it is a terrible thing for a Supreme Court Justice to resemble Scalia, but when did the Right Wing start agreeing with me on that? Take Ann Althouse
No sooner did we learn that President Bush had chosen Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court than commentators began blurting: "Scalito!" Judge Alito, a man of stellar credentials and 15 years on the federal bench, has long endured the witticism that connects his lyrical surname to that of Justice Antonin Scalia. The names blend mellifluously and both men are considered conservatives, so why should we give up the clever nickname?
Well, quite aside from the tedium of cliché, we might want to consider whether Judge Alito really is all that much like Justice Scalia. If you're old enough, you might remember how savvy it once seemed to respond to the nomination of Harry Blackmun by lumping him with Warren Burger and calling them "the Minnesota Twins."
Both men were appointed by Richard Nixon, who, like George W. Bush, ran for office saying he wanted to appoint strict constructionists to the bench. Yet while Justice Burger remained conservative, Justice Blackmun went on to write the opinion legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade and, eventually, to vote consistently with the liberal justices.
Assuming that Judge Alito is confirmed, there will be time enough for the critics to mutter "Scalito" whenever he joins Justice Scalia in a decision they dislike. But for now, we should give careful consideration to his record. And what a thorough record it is: a decade and a half of judicial opinions that deserve close study, not facile comparison to the work of Justice Scalia.
Well now, sorry that you consider the comparison facile Professor Althouse, but since your one example of how Scalia and ScAlito differ is a fairly arcane discussion of the standard of review for what constitutes a "neutral" government action restricting religion in the workplace, and it is not at all clear what divergence is to be seen in any event (Alito's opinion was more detailed as it faced a more specific set of facts), excuse me if I think your admonition facile.
Althouse also asserted a very strange basis for differentating Blackmun and Burger, Roe v. Wade. See Blackmun and Burger voted together in Roe:
BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C. J., and DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, STEWART, MARSHALL, and POWELL, JJ., joined. BURGER, C. J., post, p. 207, DOUGLAS, J., post, p. 209, and STEWART, J., post, p. 167, filed concurring opinions. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which REHNQUIST, J., joined, post, p. 221. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 171.
But the bottom line is why is it that Conservatives take such umbrage at having Alito described as being comparable to Scalia? Wouldn't you think they would consider it a compliment?
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