Saturday, January 14, 2006

Deleto Alito

Although I originally held out some hope for a pleasant surprise during the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings, I no longer see him as anything other than a far-right conservative activist. While there are no money-back guarantees for Supreme Court Justices, I anticipate Alito aligning most closely with Scalia, just as many have predicted all along. The Right Wing cabal that is running the country vetoed Bush's first choice (remember Harriet Miers?) because she could not be counted on to roll back the clock on civil rights. The fact that they slobber over Alito should be evidence enough to oppose him -- but I've got a little time on my hands, so here goes.

Alito's allegiance to "originalism" (an absurdly ignorant approach to applying the Constitution) and his refusal to disavow his 1985 statement that the constitution doesn't protect the right to abortion indicate that either he is still desperate for the praise of ultra-right wing conservatives or else he is one himself. Alito's musings on absolute executive powers are absolutely terrifying. They are also inconsistent. If Alito believes in "originalism" he should also accept that the Founding Fathers feared tyranny by Kings -- the executive authority of the day. That is why the Constitution grants exclusive authority to "declare war" to Congress, rather than to the "Commander in Chief." That title was bestowed upon the president to rein in the military, not to restrict Congress. Also, in the early days of the Republic, Congress met less frequently, travel was difficult and communications were slow. It made sense to place a permanent civilian authority over the military. But Congress does, and should, have the last word on all military matters. After all, only Congress can authorize expenditures and appropriate the funding for military action.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution declares that "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." Of course, to an originalist like Sam Alito, that means the president has no authority over the Air Force, right? Article II, Section 3 tells us that the president should “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Hmmm. Which section discusses impeachment? That would be the very next section: " The President ... shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Do you suppose Alito considers failure to "faithfully execute the laws" an impeachable offense?

Alito seems unlikely to expand constitutional recognition of any rights other than the "right" to own a machine gun. I also found him to be dishonest -- how else to explain his extraordinarily convenient memory lapses (Sorry, I can't remember anything about joining a racist/anti-woman alumni organization that I listed as an ideological bonus point during a different job application). I have to give Sen. Schumer credit for highlighting Alito's inconsistency when he pointed out that Alito was willing to discuss particular issues that are certain to arise in future Supreme Court cases (such as the Commerce Clause) yet unwilling to discuss the right to an abortion.

That being said, Ming the Merciless, I mean Alito, is certain to be confirmed. All signs point to a future where the rights secured by Roe are nibbled away. Strategically, I would actually prefer him to vote to strike down Roe (and therefore, abortion rights) completely. At least that might wake up the threatened majority in America and finally get them to pay attention to trivial matters like elections.

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