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Wednesday, November 16, 2005 

I Guess It is the Fight

The New York Times has an editorial about Judge Alito and his statements on abortion. The opening spells it all out...
Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s insistence that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights is not the only alarming aspect of a newly released memo he wrote in 1985. That statement strongly suggests that Judge Alito is far outside the legal mainstream and that senators should question him closely about it. They should be prepared to reject his nomination to the Supreme Court if he cannot put to rest the serious concerns that the memo, part of a job application, raises about his worthiness to join the court.
Notice the part that I bolded. Someone who doesn't think that there is a right to an abortion in the Constitution is out of the legal mainstream?! That's news to me. That's also news to Justices Rehnquist, White, Scalia, and Thomas. That's also news to Judges Jones, Pryor, Garza, Brown, and anyone else that I can't think of off the top of my head. I guess they don't count though. Four Supreme Court Justices from the modern era couldn't possibly be an example of mainstream legal thought.

The personal opinions of the New York Times editorial staff are not the dictionary definition of "mainstream legal thought," not by a long shot.

Then there is this crap...
Second, Judge Alito does not respect precedent. Judicial nominees who appear extreme often claim that because they respect precedent, they will vote to reaffirm decisions they disagree with. When Judge Clarence Thomas was nominated for the Supreme Court, he told the Senate about his deep respect for precedent - and then immediately began voting to overturn important precedents when he joined the court. The Senate has specific reason to be skeptical about Judge Alito. Not only did he work to overturn Roe v. Wade, but he also said he had been inspired to go to law school by his opposition to Warren Court precedents - presumably by a desire to see them overturned.
That's a pretty bold (no pun intended) claim. It's also crap. You can respect precedent but still overturn cases. By the reasoning of the NYT, Dred Scott should still be good law. Plessy v Ferguson should still be good law. Bowers v Hardwick should have never been overturned by Lawrence v Texas. I guess the NYT supports laws that ban consensual homosexual sodomy. After all, we have to respect precedent and never overturn anything. Rock solid legal reasoning there, NYT editors.

This is funny too...
Third, he is an ideologue. The White House has tried to present Judge Alito as an impartial judge without strong political views. But he said just the opposite in the 1985 statement. "I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote. He called himself a "life-long registered Republican" who contributed to "Republican candidates and conservative causes" including the National Conservative Political Action Committee, the super-PAC of the Reagan era. He strongly suggested that he would have been active in Republican politics if the law had not prohibited him, as a federal employee, from doing that.
Anyone who is a member of a political party is an ideologue. Anyone identified as a conservative is an ideologue. How dare Judge Alito have opinions on politics?! The best piece of irony is the bolded text. They are ripping him for even thinking about being involved in Republican politics if he wasn't a judge. This is all speculation on Alito's part too. What was Justice O'Connor's old job? Republican State Senator in Arizona. She actually was involved in Republican politics! Alito's just daydreaming about the possibility and suddenly that has become totally unacceptable. Give me a break.

I have a general policy of never reading or linking to the NYT on here. This is a wonderful example of why. This editorial is trash. It looks like something written 20 minutes before class by an undergrad Poli Sci major. It's a shoddy hit piece, but I'm more than happy to respond to it.

Too funny, great stuff as usual from the NYT. The only way I ever read any of their garbage is if its linked to by a blog. I didn't realize the editors at the NYT were legal scholars. Learn something new every day. The sad thing is, any 1L who's taken Con Law could write a better piece on the role of precedent.

I think that the not-so-well-hidden message of the NYT editorial is "precedent that we like can never be overturned."

The New York Times is a lot like Saturday Night Live. It's not the name itself that gives their product its quality. It's the people who contribute to the product that give it quality. Currently, they are staffed by more Joe Piscopos than John Belushis.

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