Monday, January 23, 2006

The New York Times Misses the Point on Alito

Today's New York Times editorial page is dedicated to a last ditch effort by the paper to convince Senators to vote against the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. The Times' argument relies soley on ideology, and the fact that Judge Alito doesn't line up with the paper's political views. The Times completely ignores the jugde's qualifications --which are supposed to be what his confirmation is decided on-- and effectively turns the nomination into an election, which it isn't:

If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife's bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious. Judge Alito is exactly the kind of legal thinker President Bush wants on the Supreme Court. He has a radically broad view of the president's power, and a radically narrow view of Congress's power. He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy.

As senators prepare to vote on the nomination, they should ask themselves only one question: will replacing Sandra Day O'Connor with Judge Alito be a step forward for the nation, or a step backward? Instead of Justice O'Connor's pragmatic centrism, which has kept American law on a steady and well-respected path, Judge Alito is likely to bring a movement conservative's approach to his role and to the Constitution.


I'm sorry guys, but you can't have it both ways. Either the justices of the SCOTUS must be critiqued for ideology, or the process must be non-political, and based on merits --which it's supposed to be. But regardless of which of these methods the Times chooses to emplore, it still concludes wrongly.

If the nomination process is to be non-political, then the only thing that matters is whether or not a justice is qualified. In Alito's case, he received the ABA's highest rating of competence and impartiality on top of his 15 year career as a federal appellate judge. It goes without question that Alito is more than qualified for a position as justice of the SCOTUS.

If the nomination is to be politically based, then national elections matter. In that case, President Bush has won the last two elections, and thus has the authority from those elections to nominate whomever he wants. And for that matter, there is no rule about each ideology receiving a certain number of SCOTUS seats. So even under this method, Alito should be confirmed.

The only reason the Times is speaking out now from ideological motives is that their lefty Democrat Senators could not produce one single valid argument against Alito, or provide any substantial evidence as a reason to vote against his confirmation.

Rather than argue from any factual standpoint, the Times chooses instead to raise uncertainties and speculations about Alito's views on abortion:

There is every reason to believe, based on his long paper trail and the evasive answers he gave at his hearings, that Judge Alito would quickly vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. So it is hard to see how Senators Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, all Republicans, could square support for Judge Alito with their commitment to abortion rights.

Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.


However, the paper's conclusions that Alito exhibits a consistent bias and that his appointment would assure a vote against abortion rights are hastily reached. It is obvious to any informed observer that this is clearly not the case, thus exposing the Times' for the leftist spin machine that it is.

You simply can't make outrageously false claims and assert them as the truth. You'll marginalize yourself into absurdity, which is exactly what the New York Times has done.