|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Machine Gun Sammy Rides Again
Thursday, January 5th, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito argue that the man is not the jurist. Mr. Alito’s long record as a lawyer and a judge, say his advocates, has no bearing on his future rulings as a justice. Whatever its merits, this argument does beg the following question: just why do even his supporters want to distance Alito from his own record? Here are a few hints:
Although most citizens have long embraced equal rights for men and women, Mr. Alito begs to differ. After graduation in 1972, he promptly became an active member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton, an organization of white males bent on protecting their alma mater from women and other such non-white-males. Concerned Alumni of Princeton, like similar groups at other distinguished institutions of higher education, failed utterly to prevent the desegregation of their school. Which proves that nasty old men can be as impotent as they are malignant, but readers will draw their own conclusions about Alito, who joined their ranks in his twenties.
Indeed, Alito seems to have an animus against women, or at least against women’s ability to control their own destinies. As a lawyer in the Reagan justice department, he wrote a seventeen page memo outlining a strategy to “bring about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime of mitigating its effects." As a judge, he argued that it is perfectly constitutional to require by law that married women inform their husbands before seeking an abortion. The good news for independent-minded women: there’s nothing in the Alito record to suggest that he objects to women holding driver’s licenses, or being allowed out of the house without a male escort.
Mr. Alito also wants to make it harder for you to sue an employer for gender discrimination. If you’re passed over for promotion because you wear panties instead of boxers, and you have evidence supporting your claim, don’t take up the matter with Judge Alito; as his dissent in Sheridan v. DuPont indicated, he doesn’t want your case to come to trial.
It’s also not a good idea to be a member of a minority group with a grievance in an Alito court. The judge wants to protect employers from racial discrimination suits, even when there’s evidence of “conscious racial bias.” And if you are a minority group member and your case does come before a jury, forget about a fair trial; Judge Alito doesn’t care if jury members are selected purely on the basis of race.
Of course, not everyone is ground down under the Alito gavel. Large corporations, government officials, and the wealthy and powerful in general, do very well in the judge’s courtroom. As a People for the American Way report put it, “he consistently sides with powerful entities against individuals.”
The judge also likes bible-thumpers. He sees nothing wrong with using taxpayer money to promote religion, and believes that “the Supreme Court has gone ‘too far’ in maintaining the separation of church and state." On the kinky side, he also has a thing for machine guns, denying Congress the authority to regulate the sale and transport of the weapons under interstate commerce laws.
Alito doesn’t much want Congress to do anything at all, preferring to vest most governmental power in the executive branch. Mr. Bush is a whole-hearted advocate of this view too, which makes Alito such a convenient supreme court pick for the President.
Curtailing rights for women and minorities, eroding personal liberties, promoting religion, and making the nation safer for large corporations, powerful government officials and agencies, and machine gun buyers: that’s the gist of the Alito record. All of which does make him an excellent choice – for the supreme court of Saudi Arabia.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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