Monday, November 14, 2005

Let the Battle Commence

"I am and always have been a conservative," wrote Judge Samuel Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, on his 1985 application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese.

"I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values," he wrote.

"In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation by the judiciary of decision-making authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate," he added.

Alito went on to say that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion” and “I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position.

During his course of service in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration he wrote: "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Republicans are relishing the opportunity to defend Judge Alito's support for judicial restraint, saying it puts him squarely in the majority of American public opinion. As evidence, they pointed to public outrage over a 2002 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that said the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. More recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that government can seize property and give it to a private party for the sake of the "public good." Other Supreme Court rulings have cited international law. (excerpts from Bill Sammon, The Washington Times, 11/14/05)

A coalition of liberal groups is preparing a national advertising campaign against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Alito. The liberal group includes the Alliance for Justice that focuses on judicial nominations, the abortion rights groups Naral Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood, as well as People for the American Way, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the NAACP and the Sierra Club.

An Alliance for Justice poll showed that a majority of Americans would oppose Judge Alito if they thought he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. His most controversial opinion on the subject was a dissent supporting provisions of a Pennsylvania law that required married women to notify their husbands before obtaining abortions, with some exceptions, a position favored by a majority of voters.

Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, said that the nomination process will be "an epic struggle between two competing and radically different judicial philosophies." (excerpts from David Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 11/13/05)

I say: Let the fight begin! That's a debate the Republican Party wins every time.


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