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Alito as Supreme Court Justice: Are you concerned?

 
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 09:57 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
The Republicans captured the center through disgust with the Dem. corruption in 94; but they have managed to turn themselves into the same thing they derided. The only way they hold the center nowadays is through fear; fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of gays.


As opposed to the Democrat's strategy of spreading fear about Social Security, the collapse of medical care, wild claims about loss of rights, etc.. ???

There is plenty of fear mongering going around on both sides. But fear, IMO, doesn't grab the middle. It strengthens the resolve of the bases.


As to the original question - I think Alito takes a well reasoned approach to the bench. Contrary to the fear mongering from the left, I don't think Roe is any danger of being overturned any time soon (I don't expect a wholesale overturning of Roe at all. If anything, it will be an incremental chipping away at it until there isn't much left.).

Several people have commented on "How will Republicans feel when there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse?" since the nomination process began. Alito and everyone else that sits on that bench understands that administrations change too. I don't think they are to likley to defer to one branch or the other favoring one side of the political spectrum without realizing that at some later point the scales may be tipped to the other side. Seems more like an argument for why they'd exercise judicial restraint than to make any radical course changes to me.
0 Replies
 
Anon-Voter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Jan, 2006 10:43 pm
I wonder if the right will be as thrilled in 5 years as they are now.

Anon
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:14 am
McGentrix wrote:
The Supreme court makes rulings based on facts presented before it right? It's not as though they just throw out random rulings based on the whim of the day. So, why the concern over cases that most likely will not be brought before the court? Abortion? Why would another abortion case be brought before the supreme court? They have already mad a ruling on the subject.

Legislators in several states are working right now on bills that would, in effect, overturn key provisions of Roe v. Wade:
    As national leaders on both sides of the abortion debate focus on the upcoming Supreme Court nomination hearings of Samuel A. Alito Jr., they are watching states such as South Dakota pass more and more restrictions that might be upheld by a newly constituted, more conservative Supreme Court.
Washington Post (reg. req'd). I predict that there will be a major abortion case before the court within two years.

McGentrix wrote:
Also, as far as Alito's appearance to lean towards expanded executive powers... Bush has 2 years left in office. Were Hitlery to make it to the White house (which I don't think she will, but suppose she does) wouldn't that be playing into the Dem's hands? Having a Supreme Court Judge willing to side with the executive branch? But, again, the case needs to come before the court... the FULL court, not just Alito...

Ha ha ha, "Hitlery." You're a comic genius, McG. You must really slay them down at the Elks Club.

In any event, the conservative members of the USSC have shown a remarkable ability to break loose from the bonds of ideology when it suits their political goals. For instance, who knew that Scalia and Thomas were such staunch defenders of federal power until Bush v. Gore?
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:25 am
ebrown_p wrote:
This is why I feel a filibuster is not only appropriate, but required.

The filibuster is the best way to have justices that are at least acceptable to the moderates on both sides of the contentious issues for which he will act as arbiter.

That the frightened, politically emasculated Democrats have proclaimed the filibuster as the guarantor of democracy is too ludicrous to be abhorrent. The filibuster is anti-democratic. It is a relic of the past, a legacy of a scrivener's oversight that has ossified into a weapon of delay in the hands of an otherwise impotent minority. It ties the Democrats to a policy of inertia, and they have thus become the party of the do-nothings (as opposed to the Republicans, who remain the party of the know-nothings). It is a travesty that we have come to this point.

The best result for the republic is for the Democrats to filibuster the Alito nomination, the Republicans to successfully exercise the nuclear option, and the filibuster to be dead and buried forever.
0 Replies
 
flyboy804
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:34 am
"Amen" to your last paragraph, Joe, but without a constitutional ammendment another Congress could disinter it.
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 09:57 am
fishin' wrote:
As opposed to the Democrat's strategy of spreading fear about Social Security, the collapse of medical care, wild claims about loss of rights, etc.. ???

There is plenty of fear mongering going around on both sides. But fear, IMO, doesn't grab the middle. It strengthens the resolve of the bases.


True, both sides do this. However, Republicans take the door prize when it comes to taking the high moral ground and mixing in politics with it.
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:09 am
fishin' wrote:
As to the original question - I think Alito takes a well reasoned approach to the bench. Contrary to the fear mongering from the left, I don't think Roe is any danger of being overturned any time soon (I don't expect a wholesale overturning of Roe at all. If anything, it will be an incremental chipping away at it until there isn't much left.).


Isn't it just as bad to chip away at it? Hopefully, Alito will be true to his emphatic emphasis on "Stare Decisis" during the hearings.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:31 am
joefromchicago wrote:
ebrown_p wrote:
This is why I feel a filibuster is not only appropriate, but required.

The filibuster is the best way to have justices that are at least acceptable to the moderates on both sides of the contentious issues for which he will act as arbiter.

That the frightened, politically emasculated Democrats have proclaimed the filibuster as the guarantor of democracy is too ludicrous to be abhorrent. The filibuster is anti-democratic. It is a relic of the past, a legacy of a scrivener's oversight that has ossified into a weapon of delay in the hands of an otherwise impotent minority. It ties the Democrats to a policy of inertia, and they have thus become the party of the do-nothings (as opposed to the Republicans, who remain the party of the know-nothings). It is a travesty that we have come to this point.

The best result for the republic is for the Democrats to filibuster the Alito nomination, the Republicans to successfully exercise the nuclear option, and the filibuster to be dead and buried forever.


I strongly disagree Joe -- especially when it comes to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court should be seen as impartial. The closest we can get is to ensure that justices are not strongly feared by a large segment of society.

The filibuster means that even when the conservative Republicans are in control of both the executive and legislative branches of the government, there is still a check on them appointing political idealogues the the Court. Likewise when liberal Democrats are in control, there will be a check on them.

The filibuster doesn't mean that the minority Democrats can appoint liberals to the Court. It means that they can block the radical ones (like Alito) while accepting those who are Conservative, but reasonably acceptable to all segments of society.

You can argue whether the moderating influence on judge selection from the filibuster is worth the political machinery. I say the end result of the ability of the minority party to filibuster is more moderate judges from both sides-- and this is a good thing.

Disagree if you must, but your reasoning ignores the obvious effect of the filibuster which is pressure for judges who aren't on the fringes. It seems clear the result will be judges that are more acceptable to a larger swath of the American political landscape.


Over 59 million Americans did not vote for George Bush. Many, if not most of us list fears over a radical supreme court as the reason why. We largely accepted Roberts. However, Alito is exactly what we feared. A two percent electoral majority would seem to suggest a more moderate choice.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 10:43 am
Alito is not a radical.
0 Replies
 
Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 11:11 am
ebrown_p wrote:
This is why I feel a filibuster is not only appropriate, but required.

The filibuster is the best way to have justices that are at least acceptable to the moderates on both sides of the contentious issues for which he will act as arbiter.


Kennedy and Kerry are taking care of the filibuster. Even though it won't do much good (unfortunately) they have to make a show of something-- And the two of them are senior and established enough they can afford to make the symbolic gesture.
0 Replies
 
timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 12:25 pm
Quote:
Reid admits Democrats can't block Alito
Fri Jan 27, 2006 11:27 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted on Friday he and fellow Democrats lack the votes to block President George W. Bush's nomination of conservative appeals judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Everyone knows there is not enough votes to support a filibuster," Reid said, referring to the procedural roadblock that some Democrats said should be used to put off a vote on Alito ...
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 12:26 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
I strongly disagree Joe -- especially when it comes to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court should be seen as impartial. The closest we can get is to ensure that justices are not strongly feared by a large segment of society.

I agree that the justices should be seen as impartial when they are on the bench, but the nomination process shouldn't be impartial -- it wasn't designed that way. The constitution, by having the president choose and the senate confirm judicial nominees, contemplates that federal judges will, in an indirect fashion, reflect the wishes of the voters. If Bush is nominating conservatives for the bench, that is a direct (and predictable) result of Bush being elected president.

ebrown_p wrote:
The filibuster means that even when the conservative Republicans are in control of both the executive and legislative branches of the government, there is still a check on them appointing political idealogues the the Court. Likewise when liberal Democrats are in control, there will be a check on them.

There are enough checks and balances built into the system already. There is no reason why a minority party should have any additional power to impede legislation. It's a minority party for a reason: it's not as popular as the majority party. Why should it be able to thwart the majority's wishes through what is, after all, a legislative "glitch?"

ebrown_p wrote:
The filibuster doesn't mean that the minority Democrats can appoint liberals to the Court. It means that they can block the radical ones (like Alito) while accepting those who are Conservative, but reasonably acceptable to all segments of society.

The filibuster can be used to block anyone, even respectably moderate nominees.

ebrown_p wrote:
You can argue whether the moderating influence on judge selection from the filibuster is worth the political machinery. I say the end result of the ability of the minority party to filibuster is more moderate judges from both sides-- and this is a good thing.

The people who voted for George W. Bush didn't want more moderate judges. If they had, they wouldn't have voted for Bush, who made it very clear in his campaigns that he would nominate judges just like Alito.

ebrown_p wrote:
Disagree if you must, but your reasoning ignores the obvious effect of the filibuster which is pressure for judges who aren't on the fringes. It seems clear the result will be judges that are more acceptable to a larger swath of the American political landscape.

The constitution never guaranteed that judges would be acceptable to the largest swath of American voters, it just set up a process whereby judges who were presumably sympatico with the majority of voters would be nominated and confirmed.

ebrown_p wrote:
Over 59 million Americans did not vote for George Bush.

Yeah. They lost.

ebrown_p wrote:
Many, if not most of us list fears over a radical supreme court as the reason why. We largely accepted Roberts. However, Alito is exactly what we feared. A two percent electoral majority would seem to suggest a more moderate choice.

The drafters of the constitution, in their infinite wisdom, set up a process whereby the voters tend to get the judges that they want. More to the point, they tend to get the judges they deserve.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 12:47 pm
Quote:

The drafters of the constitution, in their infinite wisdom, set up a process whereby the voters tend to get the judges that they want. More to the point, they tend to get the judges they deserve.


Your Constitutional argument is flawed.

The Constitution says "advice and consent" without defining what that means. It leaves it up to the Senate to figure out what it means to give "advice and consent".

We are arguing over two different standards of "advice and consent". The drafters of the Constitution specifically didn't set up a process with either one of these standards.

The fact is that under current Senate rules, the filibuster is a legal and viable tactic if 41 Senators feel strongly enough to make the political gamble.

Quote:

There are enough checks and balances built into the system already. There is no reason why a minority party should have any additional power to impede legislation.


This is the real crux of our argument.

The simple argument I am making is that-- especially in a Supreme Court selection-- this extra Check on the majority party is a good thing.

Of course this is a subjective argument.

With Alito, I am accepting reality. The filibuster will not work because there are not enough Senators from the minority party that feel strongly enough or have the political support to support it.

The partisan ebrown is disappointed with this result since, if I were Senator, I would be at the forefront of championing a filibuster of Alito.

The non-partisan ebrown points out that this result makes the point that the filibuster works. The system will only stop judges who are perceived as more extreme than Alito.

In such a case I feel comfortable that the filibuster is available.
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 12:50 pm
fishin' wrote:
Several people have commented on "How will Republicans feel when there is a Democrat in the Whitehouse?" since the nomination process began. Alito and everyone else that sits on that bench understands that administrations change too. I don't think they are to likley to defer to one branch or the other favoring one side of the political spectrum without realizing that at some later point the scales may be tipped to the other side. Seems more like an argument for why they'd exercise judicial restraint than to make any radical course changes to me.


Being someone who has asked that question (more or less), I think you might misunderstand my argument. It is made directly in the face of those who thing that expanded executive power is much ado about nothing. I have a problem with expanded executive power regardless of the party who would benefit and I make the assumption that Alito would vote the same regardless of the political party of the president. But I think that those who don't have a problem with it, don't have a problem because they like the guy in the whitehouse. It's the supporters, not Alito, that I think might change their opinion depending on the party in power. In essence, I agree with your last statement that judicial restraint is needed. I just have some doubts as to whether it will be exercised.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:16 pm
joefromchicago wrote:
That the frightened, politically emasculated Democrats have proclaimed the filibuster as the guarantor of democracy is too ludicrous to be abhorrent. The filibuster is anti-democratic. It is a relic of the past, a legacy of a scrivener's oversight that has ossified into a weapon of delay in the hands of an otherwise impotent minority.

This seems one of the few cases where your political opion is more confident than mine. I haven't yet decided for myself whether the filibuster is a bug in your parliamentary process or a feature of it. Since you already stated the `con' side very forcefully, let me offer what I consider the two strongest `pro' arguments.

(1) When candidates for a court need super-majorities to get their jobs, broadly acceptable judges will run the courts. In Germany for example, judges need a 2/3 majority to get onto the constitutional court. All our judges and ex-judges from that court are highly respected. But we never had the kind of infantile love-hate relationships with any of them that Americans had with people like Warren, Brennan, or Scalia. (Yeah I know -- look who's talking! Smile ) I appreciate a good fight between Supreme Court judges, but would it really be so bad if Supreme Court judges needed to convince 60 Senators, not 50, that they ought to sit on that court? The obvious objection to argument #1 is that this is not what the constitution says. This is where #2 comes in.

(2) For all practical purposes, the American constitution does contain unwritten parts that deserve respect. I know this is a strange thing for an originalist to say, but my mind has opened somewhat to this as a side effect of my discussions with you. For example, nothing in your constitution says that there are nine Supreme Court justices. Yet only two presidents after the founding era -- Lincoln and FDR -- ever tried to use their constitutional discretion for a court packing. And only one -- Lincoln -- succeeded at it. Thus, for all practical purposes, the number of judges on the Supreme Courts is carved in stone. Why wouldn't the filibuster, a constitutional tradition of comparable standing, deserve a similar degree of respect?
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:35 pm
After Alito takes his place on the SC, the new trend in the court's decisions will slowly move the country to the right, and all those annoying liberal ideas will be mostly forgotten by the average person. My only hope is that Bush gets to appoint another SC justice later.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:36 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
After Alito takes his place on the SC, the new trend in the court's decisions will slowly move the country to the right, and all those annoying liberal ideas will be mostly forgotten by the average person. My only hope is that Bush gets to appoint another SC justice later.

Maybe Robert Bork will get a second chance? Wink
0 Replies
 
Anon-Voter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:46 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
After Alito takes his place on the SC, the new trend in the court's decisions will slowly move the country to the right, and all those annoying liberal ideas will be mostly forgotten by the average person. My only hope is that Bush gets to appoint another SC justice later.


Maybe you'll get lucky and AlQueda will hit the Supreme Court and he can appoint all of them.

Anon
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:47 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
After Alito takes his place on the SC, the new trend in the court's decisions will slowly move the country to the right, and all those annoying liberal ideas will be mostly forgotten by the average person. My only hope is that Bush gets to appoint another SC justice later.


Which "annoying liberal ideas" are you talking about. Civil rights? Interracial marriage? Secular education? Habeus Corpus?
0 Replies
 
slkshock7
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Jan, 2006 01:51 pm
ebrown wrote:
The filibuster doesn't mean that the minority Democrats can appoint liberals to the Court. It means that they can block the radical ones (like Alito) while accepting those who are Conservative, but reasonably acceptable to all segments of society.

<<<<<snip>>>>>>

Over 59 million Americans did not vote for George Bush. Many, if not most of us list fears over a radical supreme court as the reason why. We largely accepted Roberts. However, Alito is exactly what we feared. A two percent electoral majority would seem to suggest a more moderate choice.


You seem to be inferring that Alito is opposed by the majority of Americans, but polls do not show that. Most polls show Americans favor his confirmation, are negative to filibuster, but simultaneously are confident he won't work to overturn Roe V. Wade. I'm not a fan of polls, but characterizing him a "radical" appears to be a charge not shared by the majority.

Judges should be selected based on their knowledge and firm conviction of the law. This requires strong confident opinions. After all, they'll be called upon to differentiate consistently between very fine points of law. I think basing nominations of judges on their "moderateness" does nothing but encourage inconsistency.
0 Replies
 
 

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