Monday, October 31, 2005

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

So this is the next step in the game: a hardcore wingnut, ready to hunt down the uppity women. Pretty much. He is also otherwise a wet dream for the radical cleric wing of the Republican party. Here are some of his opinions:

Samuel Alito's record reveals troubling elements that place him well outside the American mainstream:

* Alito took pains to distant himself from the longstanding constitutional requirement that abortion restrictions must have exceptions when a woman's health is in jeopardy. He did so when ruling on a law that effectively banned abortion as early as the 12th week of pregnancy and lacked an exception to protect women's health. The health exception is a fundamental tenet of Roe v. Wade, and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the need for the health exception this fall. Should Alito's vote replace that of Sandra Day O'Connor, a fundamental right will likely be lost by next summer.

* Alito has argued that significant restrictions on a woman's right to choose are constitutional. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Alito argued that all of the proposed law's restrictions on a woman's right to choose – including a spousal notification provision struck down by the Third Circuit and, later, the Supreme Court – were constitutional. Alito dissented in part because he would have gone even further than the rest of the court.

* Alito would uphold state laws that place significant roadblocks in the way of women seeking abortion care. Alito concurred with the majority's opinion in Casey that concluded that "time delay, higher cost, reduced availability, and forcing the woman to receive information she has not sought," although admittedly "potential burdens," could not "be characterized as an undue burden." This opinion practically ensures that he would never find any burden to be undue.

This is naturally why he has been nominated. He is one of those legal scholars which regard the definition of a woman as the life support system around the uterus. But he is bad news in many other ways, too. For example, here is his opinion on the federally required family leave:

In 2000, Alito authored an opinion in which he ruled that the FMLA was an instance of unconstitutional congressional overreach. In particular, he said that the FMLA was unconstitutional because there was no evidence for the notion that women are disadvantaged in the workplace when they are not allowed to take family leave. Furthermore, he argued, the requirement that everyone be guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid family leave was a disproportionately strong remedy:

Notably absent [from the FMLA] is any finding concerning the existence, much less the prevalence, in public employment of personal sick leave practices that amounted to intentional gender discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

...Moreover, even if there were relevant findings or evidence, the FMLA provisions at issue here would not be congruent or proportional.

Family values a la Attila the Hun.

Then the political games can begin. We can ask what it means that Sandra O'Connors is replaced by this particular testiculated wingnut at this particular moment, leaving Ruth Ginsburgh the last representative of the majority of Americans on the bench. Or this would be what I would do, but the rule is to argue that the bench is deficient in wingnuts only, and Alito is sorely needed to increase the power of the Scalia contingency. Lots of possible Opus Dei boys here? Hmmmm. I better not touch that one.

But I can talk about the other game, which is to try to figure out if Alito is meant to be the second nominee to appease the wingnuts before the third and final one will be brought out. This would mean that a Big Fight is expected and that the Democrats are supposed to hammer Alito back into the underground with their stern little hammers, to help Bush, so that he doesn't get stuck with this wingnut who would make even his daughters' lives harder.