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DT: come reap

you got so much to say, say what you mean, mean what you're thinkin' and think anything

Posted on 2005.07.11 at 15:05
How I feel about it all: pensivepensive
Soundtrack: Cat Stevens - Can't Keep it In
I've got a question, because y'all are pretty smart people.

So this Judge Alito guy has the Left up in arms. There's even a petition from moveon.org to stop him.

My question is--is there any legal or disqualifying reason he needs to be stopped? I'm not talking about his stance on disabled/gay/womens'/workers' rights. I'm talking about any reason outside of his politics that would make him unqualified to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court? With Harriet Meiers, my gut feeling was that I didn't want her up there because she sounded like the president of Dubya's fan club. But I figured that was a pretty stupid reason to (pardon the pun) judge her. As I heard more about her, it became clear to me that she isn't qualified on the basis that she doesn't really understand the Constitution very well, and doesn't know much about being a judge in general. I don't think she's stupid, but she's certainly not Justice material. Lack of training, lack of experience, those seem to be pretty good reasons to me, and even the lack of experience didn't bother me that much, because freshness often adds to a person's outlook. It was just that she was incompetent as an interpreter of the Constitution. The fact that Dubya's fangirl didn't work out was a mere fringe benefit for me. I mean, come on, Dubya's not qualified to be President, after all. IMO, of course.

As for Chief Justice Roberts, I've yet to see any non-political reason he shouldn't serve, and I think we bleeding hearts just might be surprised at some of his votes.

So. This Alito guy. He'd not be my first choice politically (nor would ANYONE Dubya nominated, most likely), but. Can anyone give me a reason that's not related to how far over on what side of the aisle he sits that would make me want to sign a petition like this?

I'm not asking why I shouldn't like him or why I should. Just...is he qualified, and if he is, what's the sense of petitioning anyway?

This is a nonpartisan question, BTW. It's just a (possibly dumb) question.

And another question: Is it possible to even keep politics out of a decision like this? Maybe we shouldn't. I really don't know.

ETA: It's getting better, but at the end of the day (to use an already overused saying), the country is still primarily run by rich white guys. It's time to work harder on changing that.


peacey at 2005-11-07 22:15 (UTC) ()
Okay, the best thing I have read so far is this. It isn't a list of his opinions or judgements, but is, more or less, what one should look for when searching out his judgements (kind of difficult, apparently, since he was an appellate court judge). What I know of him I like because, like Justice Roberts, he seems not to be guided by his personal feelings, but rather is guided by his interpretation of the Constitution. He does seem to know his way around the document and does not seem to be a judge that leans toward legislating his views. These are the only things I look for when forming my opinions. As much as possible, I keep politics to the rear, but honestly I doubt most do, unfortunately, including some of the justices once they're on the bench. Ick.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-07 22:23 (UTC) ()
Oh, I certainly don't claim to keep politics to the rear of a lot of things, but I wonder if in the case of the Supreme Court, it wouldn't be a good idea for EVERYONE to do that, including and especially the Senate and the President.

One think I did read in that article is that Alito was one of those who called for overturning sodomy laws. If his personal views were more to the Right of that, but he did it anyway, it does say something about his ability to interpret the Constitution without hauling his politics into it.

I'm concerned about the questions of his not supporting workers' rights, especially, though, but I'd have to look at the actual cases (or summaries--who can read legalese?)before I really could form an opinion.

peacey at 2005-11-08 02:10 (UTC) ()

A hijack in progress...

*wrestles livejournal from Primmy*

The Low-Fidelity All-Star: he was born with the cool, and it's totally natural.  He runs the gamut from Hipster Supreme (only they can ingest as much coffee as he) to the geeky hipster%
You are the Low-Fidelity All-Star. You were born
with your cool, and it's totally natural. You
run the gamut from Hipster Supreme (only they
can ingest as much coffee as you) to the geeky
hipster (Mario Kart, anyone?).

What Kind of Hipster Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

We now take you back to the previous program, already in progress...
robinhoo at 2005-11-07 23:02 (UTC) ()
Now, I'm the first person to leap up in outrage at the this man's politics, I just want to say that upfront. He's horrifically conservative. He's also male, white, rich, etc. -- all the things which, as you note, we already have an unpleasant surplus of in Washington. He inspires me with loathing. Right-o.

That said, I haven't seen anything that suggests to me that he's not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. Unlike Meiers (whom I found woefully underqualified), he's got judicial experience. The guy knows the law. Except for the fact that the Democrats will try like hell to keep his conservative ass off the bench, I can't see any reason why he wouldn't be approved by Congress.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-08 01:39 (UTC) ()
I think he'll be approved. I hope he's worthy.
Susan the Neon Nurse
neonnurse at 2005-11-08 01:26 (UTC) ()
To heavily simplifiy, for me it's a matter of trust. I would be much more likely to trust someone of liberal bent to try to be fair and not bring their personal views to the judicial bench. Which is not to say that I don't think ANY conservatives are able and willing to be fair. But I very much doubt anyone Bush picks is going to be an honest, upfront, even-handed guy. Although I suppose there is a first time for everything.

My reason for thinking he should be stopped is indeed political. It's too bad we have to get sucked into playing nasty games, but that's the reality we're stuck in. In an ideal world, nominees and elected officials would be decent, selfless individuals whose primary thought was doing what was best for the country. Obviously that's not the case now, and I don't think it has been for a long time. Heck, maybe it never was.

I guess I see it as similar to a self-defense situation. When you are in danger, some actions are justified that would NOT be in normal life. I think it's dangerous right now to let Bush stack the court with neocons and not even protest because the proposed justices meet the technical qualifications.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-08 01:38 (UTC) ()
I agree with everything you're saying. I just don't think the Left has a legal leg to stand on, from everything I've seen. Because maybe the guy's values aren't ours, but that doesn't make a case for rejection. I don't agree with him on a whole bunch of things, but. It doesn't make him unqualified just because.

I'm a big fan of the Constitution. If Roberts or Alito or ANYONE is going to choose their own values over the Bill of Rights, etc., well. I just don't want him/her. I hope this one can see the forest for the trees.
Susan the Neon Nurse
neonnurse at 2005-11-08 01:54 (UTC) ()
I have to agree he is qualified, technically. But so are hundreds, maybe thousands, of others. He is not the MOST and BEST qualified, and I don't think it's wrong to hold out for better. Not that it will do any good, most likely, but it's still not a wrong thing to do, standing up to say, "Nope, not that one, try again." :)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-08 02:19 (UTC) ()
He is not the MOST and BEST qualified, and I don't think it's wrong to hold out for better.

Maybe not, but is it really possible to hold out, given the current state of our government? :/
robinhoo at 2005-11-08 02:24 (UTC) ()
I agree with you, neonnurse. Lots of others are just as qualified; Alito is neither the most or the best qualified.

It seems to me there's a flaw in the system of checks and balances, vis-a-vis the Supreme Court. It makes sense to me that the highest court in the land should be balanced in terms of politics. The Supreme Court is not the place where anyone, whether liberal or conservative or anything in between, wants to be worried about the balance of power between/among political party affiliation and ideology. There needs to be a balance of conservative and liberal. In a case such as the one we have now, wherein a president has the responsibility of naming two of nine justices -- who have no term limits and are in fact appointed for life -- there need to be some safeguards with regard to that nominating president's political ideology carrying undue weight. While I'd love to see a flamingly bleeding-heart-liberal Supreme Court (never gonna happen in capitalist America), I'd actually prefer to believe that the interests of the whole country -- not just 50% of it at any given time -- are being taken into consideration with every decision made by the Supreme Court justices.

I also think the justices need some dang term limits, but that's another rant.
deafscribe at 2005-11-08 04:30 (UTC) ()
Legally he's qualified, no question.

The larger question is whether the current president is legit. Given the shaky basis for his assumption of office, is he qualified to select ANYONE to serve on the Supreme Court?

As a practical matter, Bush IS in office, and thereby has the power to nominate candidates.

But also as a practical matter, Democrats have the ability to reject a nominee and filibuster, if neccesary, to make that rejection emphatic. If we are able to persuade some conscientious Republicans to join us in that rejection, all the better.

And if we do not use every legal means at our disposal to do so...


robinhoo at 2005-11-08 05:34 (UTC) ()
AMEN. Excellent point. *applause*
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2005-11-08 11:24 (UTC) ()
This is a great point.
peacey at 2005-11-08 14:54 (UTC) ()
Here is another bit worth looking at.
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