Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Scalia Standard

Judge Samuel Alito is sufficiently intelligent, educated, and ethical to sit on the Supreme Court. The problem is with his politics. He can dodge questions and claim "open-mindedness" all he wants, but his record betrays him... and the simple fact is that Bush chose Alito because the Far Right didn't think Harriet Miers was conservative enough. The only real question is: how conservative is he?

Merely being conservative is not sufficient disqualification, of course. Most Federal judges are already Republican appointees, therefore presumably conservative, and Bush v. Gore tells you all you need to know about the Supreme Court's politics. Opposition to Roe v. Wade cannot be an automatic disqualifier either, since several Supreme Court justices openly argue it should be overturned. But there is such a thing as being too far outside of the mainstream. That was Judge Robert Bork's problem: he was so unabashedly conservative that he couldn't even keep himself in check for his Senate hearings.

When it comes to a Supreme Court nominee's political views, I would impose the "Scalia" standard. So long as the nominee is less conservative than Scalia, he or she is OK. Justice Clarence Thomas would have failed this test, but Justice John Roberts would have passed. It's a close call, but I think Alito squeaks past the Scalia standard. What do the other Citizens think of the standard, and do you think Alito passes?


Dr. Strangelove said...

Just to be clear, I would never have selected Alito for the Supreme Court and I strongly disagree with his political views. But I think it would set a bad precedent if Senators were to vote for judges purely upon party lines every time. Before a Senator votes against a nominee for political reasons, it should be because of a big political disagreement.

That's what the "Scalia" Standard is an attempt to measure.

Anonymous said...

Republican Senators are constantly saying that the standard should be is Alito going to fairly and consistantly apply the law. I'm satisfied that he would not do so. A number of his past rulings regarding dismissing appeals etc show a stark double standard. The state and corporations have to meet a much lower standard before Alito than do individuals, particularly poor, female and/or minority individuals. His exchange with Schumer in particular revealed to me a strong prejudice against individuals and in favor of the establishment and the state.

The existence of this double standard makes me doubt everything Alito says about how mainstream he is. He says no President is above the law when asked about theories of the Unitary Executive and he says he'd be "open minded" about Roe v Wade etc but this double standard makes me doubt his sincerity.

In short, I think Alito is flat out lying about his views. He is Bork with savvy.

The problem is can the Democrats win this fight? I don't think they can. They have a limited amount of political capital that they can use in 2006. If they try to filibuster Alito, the Democrats will be making the 2006 elections about partisan squables. They should let it go and spend their capital hammering away on Abramoff, De Lay, Katrina and the budget. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

The Alito hearings are over. He's a right wing ideologue, who made it clear that in the early 1970s he hated the anti-war protestors at Princeton (irresponsible and privileged, he called them, without using the phrase war protestor) and it's pretty clear to me he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

But if Specter says yes, it's done. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I can't stand listening to the hearings. I ask myself what use they are. He just rattles on about how he can't answer this or that question, trying to sound apologetic. Then the media spends half the day trying to figure out what he has said. He has said NOTHING!

So you are stuck with his record. I say, skip the hearings altogehter. Close the committee doors and just look at the record. The rest is a waste of time. 

// posted by USWest