In the new grand tradition of all Supreme Court nomination hearings, both sides came out with fightin' words for the other today. Samuel Alito is the line drawn in the rhetorical sand this year; the line between liberals and conservatives. A Roberts' Court with Alito on board is just not something we liberals are willing to accept gracefully. Many on the right have been talking of the "Culture War" for many years. Well, the battle may be joined in earnest tomorrow.
In his various writings over 15 years on the bench, Alito has made it clear that he's a social conservative's dream. Any question of his stance on Roe vs. Wade is laughable; obviously, he's Anti-choice to have gotten a nomination from Bush. Alito brings grave concern with his views on the rights of women, the role of the Executive branch and, indeed, the federal government at large. Given that the press is finally admitting that Bush hasn't enjoyed much popular support for quite some time, the atmosphere for a Democratic initiative is ideal.
Out come the Democratic wolves, via The Capital Times:
"In an era when the White House is abusing power, is excusing and authorizing torture and is spying on American citizens, I find Judge Alito's support for an all-powerful executive branch to be genuinely troubling," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
"You give the impression of being a meticulous legal navigator, but, in the end, you always seem to chart a rightward course," added Chuck Schumer of New York.
Leave it to Ted Kennedy to cut right to the heart of the mattter, followed by a little reality check from Senator Schumer. There is nothing more embarrassing than a conservative idealogue who pretends to reasonableness. Every liberal in the country understands the conservative vision for America and, for all their talk of "taking it to the people", they are only too happy to have an activist conservative court do their dirty work. Liberals know what's in the offing: One Nation under Protestant God, with Repressed Sexuality and Limited Civil Rights for all. Of course, we also realize that social oppression is just a red herring in this, and all, conservative political campaigns. Nothing brings the conservative plebes out to support their divinely-inspired leaders like a good threat to Roe vs. Wade. However, it's the fine print that really matters.
Alito's stance on the power of the Executive branch is especially relevant, given George W. Bush's gross abuse of such. It's hard to imagine that, in 2006, a reborn Monarchist movement would grip the formerly conservative Republican party. I confess that I don't understand in the least why anyone would want to elect the posterboy for failing forward to the most powerful position in the land (twice), let alone grant him limitless power. As I've said before, I suspect that belief in an authoritarian religion breeds acceptance of authoritarian government. Many on the Right want a powerful father-figure to talk tough and tell them "Everything will be alright, dearie", though there simply must be some Republican somewhere better qualified for that role than Bush.
Alito's stance on the rights of businesses to trump those of the individual really gets to the meat of what the Republicans really want. All that posturing about the "Culture of Life" and "moral values" is great for the little people, but the real players are interested in power and money. Alito gives them exactly what they want: a Justice who'll support getting the people out of the way of commercial excess. After all, a return to those good old days of unregulated business certainly isn't going to hurt the investor class. The Republicans have worked so hard to drive our culture of science and reason back to the 13th century; a little free market feudalism will feel right at home.
So what does the Party of Their People have to say about their new Supreme Court annointee?
"Sam is a dignified person. And my hope, of course, is that the Senate brings dignity to the process and gives this man a fair hearing and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor," said the president...
Well, it's good to know he's dignified; the Court could scarce stand another screwball jokester like Sandra Day O'Connor. As anyone whose been watching him for long is likely aware, the President really has no ability to express any thoughts that aren't scripted for him. Whether that indicates a lack of such in his mind or merely a stark fear in his advisors of what does lurk there, Bush merely broke out the same exhausted rhetoric he's used countless times in the past. What he's really saying, of course, is "The Democrats should roll over and play dead because my political capital account is overdrawn". Bush is a big fan of up or down votes, accept when he's not. Case in point: the gaggle of recess appointments he made only last week. In any case, Bush wants one thing and one thing only: a judge who will exonerate Bush's abuses of Executive power and, unfortunately, he appears to have that in Judge Alito.
Which is why the Democrats must take a stand against the Alito nomination. This is not the kind of person we want making judicial decisions that impact our society. The U.S. said "No" to monarchy over 200 years ago and we don't intend to change our minds now. If the Republican sheep need a strongman to follow, they can feel free to emmigrate to Iraq; a new one should be on the rise there any day now. As for the rest of us who actually love and respect the ideals our nation was founded upon, rather than just the symbols thereof, it's time to make this a very, very long week for Judge Samuel Alito.
Out come the wolves...