According to this article from Americans United: way, way too much, I think:
Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito has sent a cloying thank-you note to Focus on the Family head James C. Dobson, a move Americans United for Separation of Church and State says is further evidence the new justice is firmly in the pocket of the Religious Right.
Read the note, "This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months. I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period."
Alito went on to write, "As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me" and expressed his desire for a personal meeting with Dobson.
I accept the fact that, right or wrong, even Supreme Court Justices have political affiliations. There are no doubt thousands of knowledgeable and experienced judges and attorneys that never get nominated to the high court. So there is a certain degree of "it's who you know" about the process. However, this still smells to high heaven. It's not as though Dobson is some sort of apolitical observer; he's on the forefront of the socially restrictive theocrat agenda. Alito's open endorsement of his relationship with such a widely known rightwing political activist is to throw quite a bit of doubt on his ability to judge cases without imposing a political bias.
I hope those Democratic politicians who supported the Alito nomination, as well as the liberal-leaning organizations that support them, realize just what they've done to our country. Bush appointed Alito for the sole purpose of removing what has often been the last hurdle to the religious fundamentalist's assault on our basic freedoms. Alito's willingness to publicly flaunt his allegiance to such organizations only serves to confirm the fears many of us had; that Alito is not a Justice serving all of America, merely the portion that wants to radically re-define American life according to their own religious beliefs. Too bad we didn't have a real confirmation hearing, the kind where these sorts of political ties could be forcefully dragged into the light.
After all, we're only talking about a Supreme Court Justice being allied to an organization that is against women's rights, against homosexuals' rights and openly hostile to the separation of church and state. What could possibly be wrong with one of the guardians of our civil liberties being in bed with an organization determined to strip those liberties away?
The theocratic agenda of groups like FotF is coming. South Dakota is just the start. They want laws restricting marriage, laws restricting adoption and laws restricting women's rights, and Alito appears poised to give it to them. Dobson and his ilk cannot abide personal liberty and they endorsed a judge they knew found it just as distasteful. Alito's letter is nothing more than the "all clear"; a signal to the theocrats that their faith in him is well-placed.
2008 just became a whole lot more important...