Saturday, November 05, 2005


The Alito nomination has been done to death in the blogsphere, but I can't help jumping on the band wagon.

At Bitch PhD, Alito's record is delineated for anyone who doesn't know what this man's appointment means to women.

1. He opposed Americans' ability to sue state employers for violating the Family & Medical Leave Act. Work for state government? Tough shit, no unpaid leave for you if you have a baby or your husband gets cancer.

2. He argued that Congress couldn't restrict concealed weapons in school zones. That's right; your kids' right to be safe from gunplay in the schoolyard is less important than the right of 12th graders to carry concealed firearms into school. He also argued that Congress doesn't have the right to regulate ownership of machine guns under the Interstate Commerce Act; apparently he believes that machine guns don't cross borders, people carrying machine guns cross borders.

3. He also struck down a law prohibiting alcohol advertisements in student newspapers; made it harder for students to have their student loans forgiven if they filed for bankruptcy; and struck down a school board policy that allowed race to be used as a consideration in decisions about laying off employees--that is, the policy gave preferential treatment to minorities on the grounds that students of color needed role models. (Sorry, link is from the Chronicle of Higher Ed., you'll need a password.)

4. As everyone and their 10-year old knows by now, he wrote a dissent arguing that it's perfect constitutional to strip search a 10-year old girl if you have a search warrant for an adult man.

5. He reversed a decision that found that a school regulation against “verbal or physical conduct based on one's actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other personal characteristics, and which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student's educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment" was constitutional. That is, schools can't have a rule prohibiting students from calling each other "fag," "cunt," "dirty Jew," "gook," and so forth to such a degree that the bullied kid is afraid to go to school.

6. He argued that it's perfectly constitutional for racists to discriminate if, in keeping with their racist beliefs, they think that the "best" candidate for a job is, by definition, a white candidate.

7. He dissented from majority in two cases concerning immigrant rights, offering extremist arguments that ignored substantial precedent:
in Dia v. Ashcroft, 353 F.3d 228 (3d Cir. 2003), he dissented from a ruling that an immigration judge should reconsider an immigrant's claim that he would be persecuted if returned to his home country; the majority specifically noted that Alito's dissent would effectively eliminate the requirement of substantial evidence in such cases in a way that "guts the statutory standard" and "ignores our precedent." Id. at 251 n.22. In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir.2004), he argued in dissent that an immigrant's filing of a false tax return should be considered an aggravated felony requiring removal, which the majority explained was simply "speculation" and contradicted "well-recognized rules of statutory construction."

8. Apparently, he's crap on criminal justice: according to the Washington Post,
A number of Alito's dissents involve criminal defendants. When a majority of the court found a violation of the right to a speedy trial, he dissented. So, too, when the majority ruled that a district court had the authority to reduce a convict's sentence under the sentencing guidelines. So, too, when the majority ruled that habeas corpus relief was constitutionally required when the state had not met its burden of proving the defendant's specific intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

9. He agreed, reluctantly, that a lawsuit for wrongful death in the case of a stillbirth should be dismissed, since New Jersey law prohibited such suits; but in so doing, he noted that the fact that case law distinguished a "fetus" from a "person" was "unfortunate."

10. Which leads to the biggie: Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Alito argued that requiring women to tell their husbands before they could have abortions did not constitute an "undue burden." Scott Lemieux has an excellent discussion of Alito's argument, which I won't bother to reproduce here--read what Scott wrote. Now, y'all know that the SCOTUS is due to hear an important case about abortion pretty soon: New Hampshire's parental notification law. At stake is whether or not the law, which does not have an exception to protect the health of a minor if it is threatened by the pregnancy. O'Connor was the swing vote in striking down a Nebraska law against third-trimester abortions on the same grounds, the lack of exception for the health of the mother; if Alito replaces her, it is very possible he will go the other way.

This guy is scary. I mean really scary.

Sorry, the links from Bitch PhD's blog didn't copy. You'll have to here to get to them.

1 comment:

Biting Beaver said...

*grin* THERE you are! I had your blog saved to my favorites and didn't realize it saved an archived post, therefore, everytime I clicked on the link I was brought back to a post in October.

You're right about Alito, he's just about as scary as they come. This man will be the death and dismemberment of Roe as well as other things. *sigh*