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October 31, 2005

Lefties: hold your fire on Alito

I have no position yet on what the Democrats should do about Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.  But I spoke this morning to a lawyer whom I know to be a partisan progressive Democrat who knows Alito, and who supports the nomination.  I will be writing up our conversation today or tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Posted by David at 12:07 PM in Law and Lawyers | Permalink


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Fuck that.

Posted by: worldcitizen | Oct 31, 2005 1:27:11 PM

David, I respect you, but I'm still going to trust the reams of paper Alito himself has produced in his time on the bench over the hunch of one of your anonymous lawyer friends.

Posted by: sco | Oct 31, 2005 1:32:21 PM

wc: thanks for your constructive comment.
sco: I certainly agree with you that the most important thing to look at is Alito's record. As usual, though, what I really want people to do is LOOK AT THE RECORD. Don't let NARAL, People for the American Way, Daily Kos, etc. do it for you. They're already saying things that are demonstrably incorrect (e.g., I've heard several folks say Alito "would vote to overrule Roe v. Wade," whereas in fact he has never said that). Interest groups are not trustworthy in these matters - you've got to do the work yourself.

Posted by: David | Oct 31, 2005 4:36:00 PM

So, you're saying don't listen to these groups, listen to my friend who knows better instead? I'm sorry, David, you're going to have to do better than that.

Anyway, no Alito never took out an ad in the Washington Post saying "Confirm me and Roe v. Wade is history!", but his stance on Planned Parenthood v. Casey is well documented. Casey is widely considered a proxy for Roe, and while lawyers can debate the specifics, the fact remains that Alito is on the record as supporting restricted abortion rights.

Posted by: sco | Oct 31, 2005 5:02:11 PM

More to the point, though, is what exactly are the Democrats supposed to "hold their fire" for? The next confirmation battle? The time to win the next confirmation battle is, God willing, the 2006 election.

Posted by: sco | Oct 31, 2005 5:08:15 PM

sco, come on. I'm not saying "don't do what they say, do what I say." I'm saying do it YOURSELF. Read the opinions (NOT the excerpts posted on someone else's website - they are always taken out of context - an old and reliable lawyer trick), find out what they say, and make up your mind. You might also find it interesting to hear from people who know him - that's the point of the interview that I hope to post tomorrow. Ultimately, if you want to oppose Alito, I have no problem with that. I might join you, but I haven't done my homework yet, so I'm not ready to commit. Have you?

On Casey: I don't understand what you're saying. Obviously, Alito's Casey opinion predates the Supreme Court's Casey opinion, so he didn't "take a stand" on the current Supreme Court precedent. Yes, he would have let stand a spousal notification provision that you, I, and many others may find odious. But that decision (1) predated the Sup.Ct's Casey opinion; and (2) is far from a commitment to overruling Roe (or Casey, for that matter). Now, "restricted abortion rights"? I agree with you on that. These confirmation hearings will be interesting indeed.

And re 2006: you're absolutely right. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of elections in 2004, and this is the consequence.

Posted by: David | Oct 31, 2005 6:33:43 PM

I don't have the time to pour over all of the judge's writings. This is why I trust the decision of special interest groups I support- like Earthjustice, Americans United for Seperation of Church and State, NARAL, et. al.) to do it for me. Conversely, I also see what those groups I abhor (Club for Growth, Focus on the Family) have to say.

I also don't have the luxury of knowing someone who knows the nominee personally. Your post gives me some hope that the man is not a fire and brimstone zealot, but not a lot-- even Pat Buchannan opposes the Iraq War, the outsourcing of jobs, and loves his cats...

But I do agree with your core assertion: hold your fire. In these early days, we don't need to run around screaming the sky is falling. I will just say that I'm glad Bush at least picked someone with experience.

Posted by: John O'Brien | Oct 31, 2005 8:23:00 PM

I was someone who said we shouldn't waste our fire on John Roberts. I DO think we should make an all out assault on Scalito.

But what we need to do that, and I'm not sure I can trust my fellow citizens to rally, is to make people understand what's at stake. NOT just pro-choice but a whole raft of other moderate interpretations that will be toast if this man sits on the Court.

So the question is: How do Democrats, progressives and moderates send a message that is NOT like the NARAL ads of the past and simply says "this man wants to turn the clock back on social history."

And of course all of this is REALLY about making us forget that Scooter was indicted....

Posted by: Margie | Oct 31, 2005 9:40:27 PM

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