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Confirm Judge Alito

Guest John M. Kane

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Guest John M. Kane

Today, President Bush announced his nomination of Judge Samel A. Alito Jr. to serve as the next Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Judge Alito is an exceptionally well-qualified nominee who has served for 15 years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and before that as a U.S. Attorney in New Jersey. Law journals have hailed Judge Alito as "one of our profession's best" and The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary calls him "brilliant" with an "excellent demeanor." By nominating Judge Alito, President Bush continues to fulfill his commitment to appoint qualified judges who will not legislate from the bench.


Senate Democrats are already on the attack, and they will hold nothing back in obstructing this highly qualified nominee. Don't let the spin from media pundits or attacks from Democrats distort Judge Alito's distinguished record as a judge, former federal prosecutor and public servant.

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November 2, 2005 White House Press Briefing on Judge Alito's upcoming Supreme Court Nomination




Q Let me get -- on one other -- on one other topic, on the Alito nomination. There are conservatives who are -- who relish now the ideological battle that appears to be ahead. And I wonder if you can articulate from the President's perspective the importance of that ideological battle, because there is the likelihood with Judge Alito on the Court that there would be an ideological shift on the Court --


MR. McCLELLAN: I don't see any reason why there should be, if you look back at past precedent and past confirmation hearings. All you have to do is go back and look at the most recent confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg and Supreme Court Justice Breyer were people that represented the judicial philosophy of the President that nominated them to the bench. Yet, they had civil and dignified hearings; they were well qualified, they were highly respected and they were confirmed.


Judge Roberts was -- or Chief Justice Roberts, I should say now -- Chief Justice Roberts was someone who had a civil and dignified confirmation process -- in large part, at least it was civil and dignified.


So you bring up a question about potential ideological battle or fight, that's up to members of the United States Senate whether or not that would happen. We certainly hope it won't be the case. This is an individual, Judge Alito, who has been unanimously confirmed to the court previously. He was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate back in 1990, to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.


Q Scott, you repeatedly say that he was confirmed unanimously -- that was 15 years ago, before 15 years of decisions that have allowed people to know more of what he thinks. And even Republican senators have said that this is a man who will spark an apocalyptic showdown in the Senate, that it's going to be a battle. So by pretending that this should be all fine and good you're ignoring the reality of what even members of the Senate of your own party have said -- that it's going to be a tough fight.


Does the President feel any obligation or any sense of concern that he's contributed to the atmosphere of divisiveness here in Washington?


MR. McCLELLAN: I think that that's an absolutely wrong way to characterize things, because it ignores history. You're ignoring history and you're ignoring recent history. As I pointed out -- remember, Justice Ginsburg replaced Justice White. Now, they were largely perceived as a conservative justice being replaced by a more liberal justice. So if you look at that, the standard has always been based on qualifications and experience. And that's what it should be in this case.


Now, some people may want to change that standard. And we certainly hope that's not the case, but you have heard from people who know Judge Alito that he is someone who is highly respected -- both by Democrats and Republicans -- who know him. He is someone who has shown that he is extremely well-qualified to serve on our nation's court.


There's no question about his qualifications and experience. And then you go and look at judicial temperament. He is someone that, if you look at the totality of his record, has shown that he is committed to strictly interpreting our Constitution and our laws and not trying to make laws from the bench. He is committed to respect for the rule of law. He is someone who has looked to Supreme Court precedent in making his decisions. So he's someone who is very methodical, carefully looks at the facts, and then applies the law. That's the kind of judge that the American people want on our nation's highest court. And that's why the President nominated him to the bench.

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Guest Ralph G. Neas

Replacing a mainstream conservative like Justice O’Connor with a far-right activist like Samuel Alito would threaten Americans’ rights and legal protections for decades. Justice O’Connor had a pivotal role at the center of the Court, often providing a crucial vote to protect privacy, civil rights, and so much more. All that would be at risk if she were replaced with Judge Alito, who has a record of ideological activism against privacy rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and more.

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Guest Legal Beagle

Bush nominated Alito to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on October 31, 2005. If confirmed by the Senate, Alito would be the eleventh Catholic to serve on the Supreme Court (the others being Roger Taney, Edward White, Joseph McKenna, Pierce Butler, Frank Murphy, William J. Brennan, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and John Roberts) and the fifth on the current Court (along with Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas), creating the first majority-Catholic Supreme Court in history, and together with the two Jewish justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer), a court with the most religious minorities (7 of 9 justices).

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Guest Josie is no pussycat

In choosing Samuel Alito, President Bush has caved to the demands of his right wing. Alito's record indicates a clear willingness to continue dismantling our constitutional freedoms. The American public deserves a nominee who can be counted on to uphold our rights - not take them away.


Alito’s record demonstrates that he would vote not only in favor of laws designed to make it more difficult for women to access abortion care – he would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade altogether. As a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito argued that significant restrictions on abortion are constitutional. He even voted to uphold a government requirement that women notify their spouses before choosing abortion.

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Guest Ted Miller

Women’s reproductive health and freedom are on the line, and Alito's record simply makes him too risky.


In his most significant ruling on the right to choose, Alito dissented in favor of a law that required married women seeking abortions to notify their husbands. The district court judge, the two-judge majority on the Third Circuit from which Alito dissented, and the five Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who all looked at this law agreed that the spousal-notice provision was an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to choose. In fact, other than Judge Alito, the only jurists who would have upheld this law were the four Supreme Court justices who would have overturned Roe v. Wade in its entirety.


In reaching his conclusion, Alito disagreed with the majority and the district court, which understood that "the real-world consequences of forced notification in the context of wife/husband relationships . . . . creates a substantial risk that women who would otherwise have an abortion will be prevented from having one" and that spousal notification therefore constitutes an undue burden. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682, 711-12 (3d Cir. 1991)] Alito, in contrast, adopts a much less protective standard for showing an undue burden: "[A]n undue burden may not be established simply by showing that a law will have a heavy impact on a few women but that instead a broader inhibiting effect must be shown." [947 F.2d at 721] In other words, under the Alito standard, as long only the most vulnerable women’s constitutional rights are violated, the law can stand. That Alito would acknowledge this heavy impact yet still uphold the law is extremely disturbing. Justice O’Connor and her colleagues rejected this view of the undue burden standard when the case came before the Supreme Court.


In a second case on the right to choose, Alito was compelled by squarely applicable precedent to vote to strike down the law that had the effect of banning abortions as early as twelve weeks and that lacked the constitutionally required provisions to protect women's health in the event of a medical emergency. The Supreme Court had ruled on a virtually identical statute from another state and found it to be an undue burden. Because lower courts are obliged to follow Supreme Court precedent, his opinion was not a signal of any extraordinary fairness or open-mindedness, much less any latent respect for a woman's right to choose.


Anti-choice groups also have rightly dismissed Alito's vote to strike down Pennsylvania's rules on abortions funded by Medicaid as an issue of administrative law. "It can't be characterized as an abortion ruling on the merits," said Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, which opposes Roe. [Nominee's Reasoning Points to a Likely Vote Against Roe v. Wade, Washington Post, 11/02/2005]


Americans who do not want politicians at the state and federal levels deciding whether and when women can have abortions should not be forced to wait and see whether Alito will respect precedent if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court. It's a risk pro-choice Americans should not be forced to take.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Judge Alito's record of currying favor with the extreme right and favoring government power over individual liberties might make him qualified as a favorite speaker at conservative think tanks, but it does not qualify him to sit on the Supreme Court.


People who put politics over the rule of law cannot be trusted to guard our freedoms. Every American should shudder at the prospect of a judge with a history of ethical lapses and appeasing right-wing extremists getting a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest c. s. myers

I strongly opose the confirmation of Samuel Alito to a position on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a election, I vote for candidates that I feel will do the best job for all people after I have researched their contributions and actions.

As an American citizen, I shudder to think that Mr. Alito will be confirmed. Where is our sense of a balance of power in our government? What will you say when laws of liberty are overturned that have a part in the life of all citizens of our country, and one of those liberties is one that you take for granted now?

Where is any worth in an action that is guaranteed to change the premise of the founding fathers, and the principles of our country? It would be insuring that a "right side" decsion will always be made on Supreme Court issues instead of a discussion of both sides of any issue that comes before the highest bench in the land!

You do not represent, or care about the American citizens, and are very short sited!

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Guest Let Freedom Ring

Protect Your Rights - Stop Alito's Confirmation


Take action now to help protect your constitutional rights by helping to stop Alito's confirmation.

When asked yesterday if Democrats would "rule out a filibuster" of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, the Party's Senate leader, Harry Reid, shot back an emphatic "no."


Senator Reid's declaration followed a Judiciary Committee vote on Alito in which the eight Democratic members unanimously voted against confirmation. As they cast their votes, they made the strongest arguments against placing Alito on the Court that we've heard to date.


"The president is in the midst of a radical realignment of the powers of the government and its intrusiveness into the private lives of Americans," said the Committee's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy, adding "I believe this nomination is part of that plan." He suggested that Alito was picked partly because he "convinced those advising this president that he'll be a reliable vote against challenges to presidential power."


"If we are here to uphold and defend that Constitution," Illinois' Senator Durbin asked, "does it not include, most fundamentally, our right as Americans to be left alone when it comes to our communications, to our medical records, to our business records, to the most personal decisions a person and a family can make?"


Senator Feinstein, the Committee's only woman, spoke for millions of Americans when she said, "If one is pro-choice, in this day and age, in this structure, one can't vote for Judge Alito. It is simply that simple."


The Senate's third ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, joined other Democratic Senate leaders in the same press conference in which Senator Reid held open the possibility of a filibuster. She spelled out in dramatic terms why Alito must not be confirmed. "Whether it's a family losing a dairy farm, workers losing their pensions, a mentally disabled young man who was the victim of a vicious sexual harassment in the workplace, a woman who was dealing with personal health issues and the right to choose and has a fundamental right of privacy to choose her reproductive decisions herself, an unarmed 15-year-old boy being shot dead in the back of his head by police or the strip-search of a 10-year-old girl, Judge Alito has been consistently outside the mainstream and has said no to the daily concerns of average Americans."


Judge Alito has violated judicial ethics and the right to a fair trial by presiding over cases in which he had a personal interest. In addition, Judge Alito has supported immunity for government officials who spy on Americans without a warrant, and he believes that our Constitution does not restrain the President from detaining citizens without filing any charges against them and without allowing them access to an attorney or to the courts.


Judge Alito has sworn to uphold our Constitution and impartially preside over cases; however, he has proven that he does not abide by his oath and does not respect our Constitution. Many constitutional scholars believe that Judge Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court should not be confirmed. Instead, he should be impeached.


As the day went on, more and more Democrats announced their opposition to Alito, including California's Barbara Boxer, Connecticut's Christopher Dodd, Florida's Bill Nelson, and Illinois' Barack Obama. Senator Feinstein concluded her explanation for voting against Alito by saying, "I, for one, really believe that there comes a time when you just have to stand up."


Alito's nomination is being debated on the Senate floor as we speak. Call your senators and Democratic leaders Reid and Leahy now. Tell them the time to stand up is now -- ask them to make a commitment to do everything possible to defeat Alito's nomination.


The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121


Send your senator a fax by using this link:



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Guest Scott McLarty

Judge Alito throughout his career has sought to "increase the power of the executive to shape the law" (his words), having advised the Reagan Administration on strategies for evading Congress's oversight and ignoring laws it doesn't agree with, and favoring a license for the Justice Department to install wiretaps without obtaining a warrant.

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Here are some Alito jokes to lighten things up.


Supreme Court confirmation hearings are under way for Judge Samuel Alito. It's pretty interesting. Democrats want to know his position on privacy, while Republicans want to know his position on prison terms for bribery." --Jay Leno


"The American Bar Association gave Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito their highest rating. President Bush gave Alito his highest rating, too, because he called him 'Super' and 'Duper.'" --Conan O'Brien


Edited by Natalia1974
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