Three years ago a case came before the Third Circuit court in Pennsylvania. Cops with a warrant to search a man accused of drug dealing decided to do some extra looking around, so they strip-searched a ten-year-old girl. Every judge who looked at the case said the cops were out of line. Except one. Samuel Alito. As he saw it, the police did the right thing. Now Bush wants him on the Supreme Court.
Selecting a Supreme Court Justice is a serious matter. Everyone knows this. Adding a determined enemy of equality, justice and our democratic rights to the court will have a real impact on our lives. So the matter needs to be dealt with accordingly. Alito’s confirmation must be opposed.
Right now, Bush, the leaders of the Republican Party and reactionaries of all kinds are trying to portray the nominee as a thoughtful and reasonable person. That’s their perspective. Keep in mind that they also think invading Iraq was a good idea. And that opposing science – from evolution to stem cell research – is reasonable. They also think it is OK to torture people. Alito has the stamp of approval from the powerful, the rich and bigots who are looking to turn back the clock.
Here are the facts. Alito is against a women’s right to chose whether or not to have an abortion. His record as a judge demonstrates he will try to erode and curtail reproductive rights. Among serious people there is no serious debate about this. The only question is how far will he go. The balance of forces on the Supreme Court has changed. Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, has never been closer to reversal than it is today. Alito is a clear and present danger to choice. Period.
Here is what Samuel Alito had to say about himself in a 1985 job application: “I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.” Case closed. His views are clear
Alito is a company man. He is pro big business. That’s his record. He is hostile to oppressed nationalities – African-Americans, Chicano/Latinos, Asian, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders – and that’s how he has ruled in discrimination cases. At a time when government routinely tramples on our rights, he is the type that wants to expand police powers. To be frank, if one considers fair play, he is not qualified to judge a traffic court.
Unfortunately, many Senate Democrats are sending mixed messages on Alito. They say they oppose him. Then they say are ‘open to an up or down vote’ on Alito in the Senate. In practice that means Alito will be a Supreme Court Justice. There is only one way that congress will block the Alito nomination at the point. A filibuster. Anyone in congress who does not do everything it takes to block Alito is an objective supporter of Bush’s nominee. And we – the American people – need to put the maximum heat on Congress to make sure they do the right thing.
Bush is facing a host of grave political problems, including the defeat in Iraq and growing opposition to that war here at home, the indictment of high administration officials, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and signs of looming economic downturn. The Alito nomination needs to be seen in that context. Most Americans believe that Bush is a dishonest man who is taking the country in the wrong direction and a sizable section of the U.S. ruling class has their doubts about the course the administration is taking. Bush is weak and that is why his previous nominee, Harriet Miers, met with defeat.
By nominating Alito, Bush wants to reconnect with and mobilize the most reactionary section of his political base. He hopes that this will add to his political muscle so that he can achieve the rest of his aims. And, if he succeeds in getting Alito on the Supreme Court, it will advance a repressive right wing agenda that will play a role in shaping the political context for years to come.
The struggle to defeat the Alito nomination will be one of the truly important battles of this decade. It’s by no means a done deal that he will end up on the high court. We can have a real impact by raising our voices and insisting D.C. politicians take a hard line against him. Our rights and our future are at stake.
No to Alito!