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Alito as Supreme Court Justice: Are you concerned?

 
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 01:54 pm
Heaven forbid they acknowledge the existence of humanity outside of the United States.
0 Replies
 
JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 02:27 pm
Not to worry. :wink:

Here's what Judge Alito had to say on the matter:

"I think the Framers would be stunned by the idea that the Bill of Rights is to be interpreted by taking a poll of the countries of the world," Judge Alito said. "The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to give Americans rights that were recognized practically nowhere else in the world at the time. The Framers did not want Americans to have the rights of people in France or the rights of people in Russia or any of the other countries on the continent of Europe at the time; they wanted them to have the rights of Americans."

I can't find Roberts' exact quote on the subject, but it was along similar lines.

<I, like others here, would feel better, though, if we could get just one more seated before the end of Dubya's term>
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 03:45 pm
JustWonders wrote:
Not to worry. :wink:

Here's what Judge Alito had to say on the matter:

"I think the Framers would be stunned by the idea that the Bill of Rights is to be interpreted by taking a poll of the countries of the world," Judge Alito said. "The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to give Americans rights that were recognized practically nowhere else in the world at the time. The Framers did not want Americans to have the rights of people in France or the rights of people in Russia or any of the other countries on the continent of Europe at the time; they wanted them to have the rights of Americans."

I can't find Roberts' exact quote on the subject, but it was along similar lines.

<I, like others here, would feel better, though, if we could get just one more seated before the end of Dubya's term>


Huh?

The purpose of the Bill of Rights was NOT to "give" us rights.

The Constitution does not confer rights. Our founders established this country on the basis of the self-evident truth that we are all born with unalienable rights that no government may deny or disparage. All rights were RETAINED--nothing was surrendered--when our founders formed our government and delegated limited powers to the government. The primary purpose of the Constitution was to SECURE the blessings of liberty. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to place specified limitations on the government (e.g., congress shall pass no law . . . ). The framers explicitly stated that the enumeration of some rights in the Constitution that the government may not deny or desparage shall NOT be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.
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Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 06:39 pm
fishin' wrote:
Cliff Hanger wrote:
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.


I dunno. Is it? Many have been going on for some time now about how Bush himself as well as his choice of Alito don't represent the "will of the people" but by and large the polls indicate that "the people" want more limitations on abortion. If that is what Alito beings them is he in fact exercising the will of the people?


As I said, Alito emphasized "Stare Decisis" in the hearings, which means he will respect the current Roe vs. Wade decision, and not chip away at it. Where are you getting your facts about the polls of the "will of the people?"
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Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Jan, 2006 06:48 pm
McGentrix wrote:
The Bush does not wish to overturn Roe v. Wade. They are anti-abortion, as are most conservatives and most Americans, yet we and they respect and understand the reasoning of why we have abortion. Being anti-abortion does not make one automatically against Roe V. Wade. The center understands that.


McGentrix, I agree, the center respects and understands why we have abortion. I'm not so sure about the Bush administration or the conservatives respecting the current law.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 04:49 am
Cliff Hanger wrote:
As I said, Alito emphasized "Stare Decisis" in the hearings, which means he will respect the current Roe vs. Wade decision, and not chip away at it.

You mean, respect precedent like Clarence Thomas, who emphasized it in his confirmation hearings as well?

People frequently spin, even lie when they apply for jobs. That's not pretty, but it's a fact of life. Personally I trust that Alito was reasonably forthright in his job applications, be it the confirmation proceedings for the Supreme Court or the now-famous application for the Reagan justice department. But I could easily be wrong. The only way to find out is by looking at his conduct on the job. Therefore I cannot understand why most people are paying so much attention to Alito's job applications, and so litte, in comparison, to his track record as a judge.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 05:17 am
JustWonders wrote:
Perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggesting that the U.S. judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries?

Can you show me where where Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested this? I am currently fact-checking a similar allegation that is frequently made about Steven Breyer. My reading isn't finished yet; but so far, that allegation looks like a completely meritless smear against Breyer. This has made me unwilling to accept further allegations of this kind on hearsay. So when you said "Ginsburg suggested that the US judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries": did you have a specific article or opinion by Ginsburg in mind? If you did, I would appreciate a pointer.
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 06:16 am
What is this obsession that you and Debra_Law seem to have with fact checking JustWonders, Thomas? Don't you know that conservatives have a constitutional right to lie, mislead, obsfucate, and torture the truth?
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 07:38 am
JTT wrote:
What is this obsession that you and Debra_Law seem to have with fact checking JustWonders, Thomas? Don't you know that conservatives have a constitutional right to lie, mislead, obsfucate, and torture the truth?

Oh, nothing really. It's probably just one of those annoying liberal ideas Brandon talked about. Debra and I, for all our differences, seem to enjoy pestering people with such ideas. And by the way, I can't wait to hear Brandon's answer to Debra's question which ideas he specifically had in mind.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 07:38 am
I respect Thomas for his fact checking. Debra Law also.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 08:10 am
Thomas wrote:
JustWonders wrote:
Perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggesting that the U.S. judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries?

Can you show me where where Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested this? I am currently fact-checking a similar allegation that is frequently made about Steven Breyer. My reading isn't finished yet; but so far, that allegation looks like a completely meritless smear against Breyer. This has made me unwilling to accept further allegations of this kind on hearsay. So when you said "Ginsburg suggested that the US judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries": did you have a specific article or opinion by Ginsburg in mind? If you did, I would appreciate a pointer.


Hi Thomas. I didn't find anything by Ginsburg either except that she signed on to the majority opinion in a Texas sodomy case which cited the european human rights court. But Kennedy wrote that opinion, not Ginsburg or Breyer, and the reference to foreign opinions was not the basis of the decision, as far as I can tell. It's that case that I was thinking JW refers to, but I don't know for sure.

Lawrence v. Texas, is the case.
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Cliff Hanger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 08:53 am
Thomas wrote:
People frequently spin, even lie when they apply for jobs. That's not pretty, but it's a fact of life. Personally I trust that Alito was reasonably forthright in his job applications, be it the confirmation proceedings for the Supreme Court or the now-famous application for the Reagan justice department. But I could easily be wrong. The only way to find out is by looking at his conduct on the job. Therefore I cannot understand why most people are paying so much attention to Alito's job applications, and so litte, in comparison, to his track record as a judge.


His resume contained a controversial club, committee, or whatever they're called, that he said he was a member of at Princeton. This club happended to discriminate in ways that would indeed shed light on his view of civil rights etc. As it turned out, it seems he added this to his resume to impress the Reagan types. Nonetheless, it was an incident worth considering during the hearings.
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 09:45 am
Thomas wrote:
JustWonders wrote:
Perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggesting that the U.S. judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries?

Can you show me where where Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested this? I am currently fact-checking a similar allegation that is frequently made about Steven Breyer. My reading isn't finished yet; but so far, that allegation looks like a completely meritless smear against Breyer. This has made me unwilling to accept further allegations of this kind on hearsay. So when you said "Ginsburg suggested that the US judiciary should be influenced by the constitutions and courts of foreign countries": did you have a specific article or opinion by Ginsburg in mind? If you did, I would appreciate a pointer.


I honestly didn't think it was any secret regarding Ginsburg's views on the use of international law as a tool to decide cases before the SCOTUS. Much has been written and it has certainly become a controversy in recent years as several on the Court have made their views known. I think that's why both Roberts and Alito were specifically asked for their views on the merits (or lack thereof) in looking to the courts of foreign nations in attempting to interpret our Constitution.

I've already cited Alito's answer and here's what John Roberts had to say when asked about it in the hearings by Senator Kyl:

Quote:
ROBERTS: Well, I don't want to comment on any particular case but I think I can speak more generally about the approach. I know Justices Scalia and Breyer had a little debate about it themselves here in town that was very illuminating to get both of their views.

And I would say, as a general matter, that there are a couple of things that cause concern on my part about the use of foreign law as precedent. As you say, this isn't about interpreting treaties or foreign contracts but as precedent on the meaning of American law.

The first has to do with democratic theory. Judicial decisions: In this country, judges, of course, are not accountable to the people, but we are appointed through a process that allows for participation of the electorate.

The president who nominates judges is obviously accountable to the people. Senators who confirm judges are accountable to people. And in that way, the role of the judge is consistent with the democratic theory.

ROBERTS: If we're relying on a decision from a German judge about what our Constitution means, no president accountable to the people appointed that judge and no Senate accountable to the people confirmed that judge. And yet he's playing a role in shaping the law that binds the people in this country.

I think that's a concern that has to be addressed.

The other part of it that would concern me is that, relying on foreign precedent doesn't confine judges. It doesn't limit their discretion the way relying on domestic precedent does.

Domestic precedent can confine and shape the discretion of the judges. Foreign law, you can find anything you want. If you don't find it in the decisions of France or Italy, it's in the decisions of Somalia or Japan or Indonesia or wherever.

As somebody said in another context, looking at foreign law for support is like looking out over a crowd and picking out your friends. You can find them. They're there.

And that actually expands the discretion of the judge. It allows the judge to incorporate his or her own personal preferences, cloak them with the authority of precedent -- because they're finding precedent in foreign law -- and use that to determine the meaning of the Constitution.

And I think that's a misuse of precedent, not a correct use of precedent.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05257/571043.stm


The "little debate" he referenced in his answer was a debate between Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia on 1/13/05 at the U.S. Association of Constitutional Law Discussion on the consitutional relevance of foreign court decisions. (Link)

Much as been written concerning Justice Ginsburg's views on the relevance of international law and answers.com has this to say as part of their biography of her:

Quote:
Dispute over relevance of international law

On March 1, 2005, in the case of Roper v. Simmons, the Supreme Court (in an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy) ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Constitution forbids executing convicts who committed their crimes before turning 18. In addition to the fact that most states now prohibit executions in such cases, the majority opinion reasoned that the United States was increasingly out of step with the world by allowing minors to be executed, saying "the United States now stands alone in a world that has turned its face against the juvenile death penalty."

Justice Antonin Scalia rejected that approach with strident criticism, saying that the justices' personal opinions and the opinions of "like-minded foreigners" should not be given a role in helping interpret the Constitution.

Ginsberg rejected that argument in a speech given about one month after Roper. "Judges in the United States are free to consult all manner of commentary," she said to several hundred lawyers, scholars, and other members of the American Society of International Law.[3] She cited several instances when the logic of foreign courts had helped untangle legal questions domestically, and of legislatures and courts abroad adopting U.S. law in return. Fears about relying too heavily on world opinion "should not lead us to abandon the effort to learn what we can from the experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey," Ginsburg told the audience.

In response to Roper and other recent decisions, several Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a resolution declaring that the "meaning of the Constitution of the United States should not be based on judgments, laws or pronouncements of foreign institutions unless such foreign judgments, laws or pronouncements inform an understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution of the United States." A similar resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate. In her speech, Ginsburg criticized the resolutions. "Although I doubt the resolutions will pass this Congress, it is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support," she said. "The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification," Ginsburg asserted. "Even more so today, the United States is subject to the scrutiny of a candid world," she said. "What the United States does, for good or for ill, continues to be watched by the international community, in particular by organizations concerned with the advancement of the rule of law and respect for human dignity."


While I believe that Justice Ginsburg will have the support of many here, I tend to agree with the views of Justices Scalia, Roberts and nominee Alito. Comparing notes with foreigners might be a valid technique for legislators writing laws, but should not be used to interpret the intent of our own Constitution and should not be used to influence the rule of law here in America.
0 Replies
 
Roxxxanne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 10:40 am
Quote:
While I believe that Justice Ginsburg will have the support of many here, I tend to agree with the views of Justices Scalia, Roberts and nominee Alito. Comparing notes with foreigners might be a valid technique for legislators writing laws, but should not be used to interpret the intent of our own Constitution and should not be used to influence the rule of law here in America.


Why not? Should English Common Law be thrown out too?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 12:46 pm
Cliff Hanger wrote:
As I said, Alito emphasized "Stare Decisis" in the hearings, which means he will respect the current Roe vs. Wade decision, and not chip away at it. Where are you getting your facts about the polls of the "will of the people?"


He doesn't have to chip away at Roe v. Wade to chip away at abortion rights in general. Many seem to have come to the belief that Roe restricted any/all limits on abortions but that isn't the case. In the decision in Roe the Court said that as the pregnancy progressed the state's interest can increase and additional restrictions can be put in place. A number of subsequent rulings maintained this position and added clarifications (like that provisions had to be left to protect the life of teh woman, etc..).

Alito could participate in decisions where more state regulation is allowed within the confines of Roe, etc.. If the decisions are with the confines of Roe then they aren't chipping away at it.

As far as the polling numbers - many poll results on abortion can be found here:
http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm
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rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 12:51 pm
Roxxxanne
We arnt interested in adding english common law too our constitution. Just ask all those conserative posters who know our constitution was written by our forefathers with the help of the holy ghost.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 01:21 pm
Thanks for the citation, JustWonders. The article I was asking about turns out to be a speech by justice Ginsburg titled "A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind". The Answers.com aritcle you cited points to it, and it is available here:

http://www.asil.org/events/AM05/ginsburg050401.html
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 02:54 pm
Thomas wrote:
Thanks for the citation, JustWonders. The article I was asking about turns out to be a speech by justice Ginsburg titled "A Decent Respect for the Opinions of Mankind". The Answers.com aritcle you cited points to it, and it is available here:

http://www.asil.org/events/AM05/ginsburg050401.html


You're welcome. The speech Ginsburg gave to the ASIL was reported on by the NYTimes and several other news outlets last Spring. Also, if you google "Ruth Bader Ginsburg on international law", it's the #2 result (of a couple hundred thousand).

The debate between Justices Breyer and Scalia was on C-Span, I believe, although I've seen Justice Breyer interviewed on various other programs regarding his views on this subject.
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 06:31 pm
JustWonders wrote:
While I believe that Justice Ginsburg will have the support of many here, I tend to agree with the views of Justices Scalia, Roberts and nominee Alito. Comparing notes with foreigners might be a valid technique for legislators writing laws, but should not be used to interpret the intent of our own Constitution and should not be used to influence the rule of law here in America.


Common sense, from any source, should not be used to influence people's decisions. Where do you think many of the ideas of the "founders" came from?
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Roxxxanne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 29 Jan, 2006 09:01 pm
Abraham Lincoln said that there are principles that even trump our constitution. Great thinkers consider the sum of all human knowledge.
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