Judge Alito is Unsuited to be on SCOTUS
When President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court last year, I wrote you to express my strong opposition to his confirmation. His record, both on the bench and as an official in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, showed that he is an ideologue whose extreme views would put our fundamental rights at risk.
Now that his hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee are underway, it is becoming even clearer that Samuel Alito is the wrong man for the job. It's time for Democrats to stand up for what we believe in. Join me in opposing Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Alito's careful dodging of the tough questions about his ideology and record can't hide the fact that his views are way outside the mainstream. His failed memory about his own activities -- from his membership in a reactionary group at Princeton to his failure to recuse himself from cases in which he had a financial interest -- creates a vacuum on ethical issues that is unacceptable in an appointment of this importance.
Please join me in calling on Democratic Senators to stand up for the core principals of our party by opposing Alito's nomination. This is not my petition; it is ours, because all of us are threatened by this nomination. Sign our petition calling on Senate Democrats to stand together and block Alito's confirmation with every means at their disposal. We will share the results with Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
What would it mean if Alito is confirmed to the Supreme Court? Alito is a conservative activist in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. If he replaces the moderate Sandra Day O'Connor, a consistent swing vote, the court would shift far to the right, endangering our liberties so deeply that it would affect the lives of every single American.
Here are just a few of the positions Alito has staked out that put our fundamental rights in danger.
* Abuse of Power. President Bush is now engaging in surveillance of United States citizens that violates federal law. He could have asked Congress to change the law, but he didn't. That overt abuse of power demonstrates the importance of a Supreme Court committed to protecting our basic freedoms. But Alito has consistently expressed support for vesting tremendous power in the hands of the President, with few checks by Congress and the courts. In questioning, he responded that the courts were ill-equipped to determine the limits for interrogations or detentions that the administration or the military deems important for security or to balance the government's needs against basic constitutional protections. The implication that he would take a hands off approach whenever the administration says "national security" is in invitation for governmental abuse.
* Eliminating the Right To Choose. When Alito applied to work at the Justice Department in 1985, he expressed his strong belief that, in his own words, "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." As a judge, he took a narrow view of Roe that the Supreme Court, and Justice O'Connor, explicitly rejected. In his hearing, Democratic Senators repeatedly pressed Alito to distance himself from the view he expressed in 1985. He didn't. Instead he focused on the undisputed doctrine of stare decisis, that is, giving weight to existing case law. In the absence of a repudiation of his unequivocal statement in 1985, I am not comforted much. His answers about abortion sounded a lot like Clarence Thomas's. It's clear that given the opportunity, Alito will vote to restrict -- and probably eliminate -- a woman's right to choose.
* Conservative Judicial Activism. Judge Alito has a history of putting his conservative ideology over the rule of law. He has voted to invalidate important laws passed by Congress, including a ban on machine guns and the Family and Medical Leave Act. And he has consistently ruled against victims of discrimination in the workplace. In all these cases, he has proven more conservative than many of his Republican colleagues on the courts of appeals and even more conservative than Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in some cases.
Judge Alito has consistently sided with the most powerful interests, business or government, which concerns me greatly. But I am most concerned about his willingness to overlook executive abuse of power, which has been then hallmark of this administration. This is a judge who is way out of the mainstream, someone who disregards our fundamental rights and endangers our liberties. Join me today in urging Senate Democrats to stand together and use every means they have available to block this dangerous nomination.
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