Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Slate finds some experts to draft questions for Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito. such as an NYPD detective who, I think, threatens to waterboard him. or, a nine year old named Max Freedman. or, Wisconsin Law Professor Ann Althouse, who writes one of my favorite 'serious' blogs, Althouse.

The Althouse posts on Alito are all worthwhile, but most importantly today she's the reason I know about the New York Times doing the same thing Slate does in asking various 'experts' to draft questions for Alito. Her favorite, as mine: "Is the fictional world of Philip K. Dick's story "Minority Report"- in which people are arrested for crimes they have not yet committed - becoming a reality in the United States?" [from Stanley Fish's batch of questions]

The other experts for the Times were
Leonard A. Leo
Cheryl D. Mills
Kenji Yoshino
John Yoo
Scott Turow

Alito's is VERY conservative - if confirmed, he might become the most right-wing judge on the court. This is particularly problematic in his disavowal of an inherent right to privacy to be found in the constituion. I see the appeal of a certain structural approach to enumerated rights, but his application of the lack of privacy rights has thus far meant that the government has the ability to intrude on your affairs to a level most Americans would not agree with. My other main qualm is his imperial view of presidential power. He cosigned a memo in 1984 "outlining a legal strategy to protect executive branch officials who ordered wiretaps" (LSJ). He has supported limits on Congressional power to protect American citizens based on a strict interpretation of Constitutionality: "Judge Alito has voted to strike down Congressional legislation banning the possession and transfer of machine guns, and legislation requiring that states fully comply with obligations to give their workers unpaid medical leave. He once wrote that it is not the role of the federal government to protect the 'health, safety and welfare' of the American people." [People for the American Way]. His textual approach might go so far as to see the Establishment clause as an invention of the Court. read more here.

I kind of want to go into more Alito detail but A) I worry that most of you don't care, B) I'd prefer to respond to the hearings as they unfold, and C) I would much rather go to bed. If I get the opportunity to put together a real post it may instead show up as a guest post on Institute for a Better American Future.

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