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Call your Senator re Alito NOW

25. January 2006 • David Boyle
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Floor debate about elevating Samuel Alito to be a Supreme Court justice has commenced; not that I am suggesting you CALL IMMEDIATELY AND DEMAND THAT YOUR SENATORS VOTE “NO” on ALITO AND ALSO FILIBUSTER, but do whatever you want.
Toll-free, 1-888-355-3588.
Recent whip count shows both Levin and Stabenow voting no, but you never know. And a “no” vote doesn’t mean they’d filibuster either.
Hey, this could even impact Ann Arbor.
God bless America.

  1. Since all politics is local, I am not sure how this would affect Ann Arbor. May be I am ignorant, hopefully someone can throw a little bit of light on it.

    Thanks,
    RS
       —RS    Jan. 26 '06 - 10:11PM    #
  2. 1. Supreme Court

    2. is supreme

    3. over everywhere in U.S., even

    4. People’s Repub of Ann Arbor.

    Sumthin to think about…
       —David Boyle    Jan. 26 '06 - 10:30PM    #
  3. Thanks, I will be contacting both Senators Levin and Stabenow and asking them to join the mainstream and give Judge Alito a fair up or down vote.

    I urge others to contact our Senators in Support of Judge Alito.

    Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA): “You [Alito] have obviously had a very distinguished record, and I certainly commend you for long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge.”
    (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/5/90)
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 27 '06 - 08:41AM    #
  4. I appreciate opposing viewpoints, but I think this quote from Kennedy is more appropriate, pertinent, and current:

    “Other than voting to send our men and women to war, there is no more important vote in the Senate than our vote on a Supreme Court nominee. This is a vote of a generation and a test of conscience. Judge Alito does not share the values of equality and justice that make this country strong. He does not deserve a place on the highest court of the land.

    We owe it to future generations of Americans to oppose this nomination. If Judge Alito is confirmed, he will serve on the court long after President Bush leaves office, and the progress of half a century on the basic rights of all Americans is likely to be rolled back. He’s the wrong Justice for justice and the rule of law in America.”
    (Sen. Ted Kennedy, KENNEDY SUPPORTS FILIBUSTER ON NOMINATION OF JUDGE ALITO, 1/26/2006)
       —FAA    Jan. 27 '06 - 11:39AM    #
  5. “This is a vote of a generation and a test of conscience. Judge Alito does not share the values of equality and justice that make this country strong. He does not deserve a place on the highest court of the land.”

    Boy, do I disagree with this. Event though I do not share Alito’s political views, he appears to be qualified. That’s as far as it goes for me.

    Why? Because we had our chance to direct who these two Supreme Court nominees were a couple of years ago when we selected Bush as president. Bush won. To the victor goes the spoils. Did you think that Bush would nominate someone who’s a liberal? Heck, we’re luck that either of these two characters are even close to being moderates.

    Now if Alito was clearly not qualified for the job, as Myers was, then hey, you’ve got a point.

    But otherwise…...
       —todd    Jan. 27 '06 - 11:56AM    #
  6. “Thanks, I will be contacting both Senators Levin and Stabenow and asking them to join the mainstream and give Judge Alito a fair up or down vote.”

    Karen – did you do the same with Harriet Myers nomination? I noticed that Republicans seem to have a double-standard on this issue. They weren’t willing to give Harriet a fair up or down vote.
       —John Q.    Jan. 27 '06 - 12:30PM    #
  7. Harriet Myers withdrew from her nomination before she was questioned by the Senate committee and before I knew what her positions were on the issues. She may have made a good jurist, but I didn’t hear enough information about her to form an opinion. Had she not withdrawn her name, I have no doubt that the Republicans would have given her a fair up or down vote.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 27 '06 - 12:45PM    #
  8. Todd – there is no spoils to victors; the beauty of the system is the check and balance provided by the review, vote, and/or filibuster loophole.

    Why use it? Because it’s there. If the tables were turned, and a liberal leader selected by 51% of the people nominated an incredibly liberal judge, do you think conservatives wouldn’t try to use the same checks afforded to them?

    I hope this nomination is shot down and a lesson is learned – that in such a liberal/conservative political dichotomy the only judges to be approved are those who are truly impartial (or at least hide their true colors well in final decision making, or at the very very least were born fence-sitters).
       —FAA    Jan. 27 '06 - 01:05PM    #
  9. Except that’s what happened when Clinton nominated an extremely liberal justice and No, the Republicans didn’t filibuster her. Have you heard of Ruth Bader Ginsberg? She was a leader of the ACLU and a politically active pro-abortion advocate. And despite her bias she doesn’t even recuse herself from hearing abortion related cases on the court. Clinton didn’t nominate any fence-sitters.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 27 '06 - 01:14PM    #
  10. “Harriet Miers withdrew from her nomination before she was questioned by the Senate committee ”

    Karen – you forgot to mention that she was forced to withdraw because of the ferocious criticism of her by extreme right-wing elements. And contrary to what you believe, there’s plenty of evidence that Republican Senators had no plans to even let her name leave the committee, much less get an up-or-down vote:

    http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2005/10/_the_tipping_po.html

    She didn’t withdraw of her own accord. She was forced to withdraw even though she had the support of President Bush.
       —John Q.    Jan. 27 '06 - 02:06PM    #
  11. “I hope this nomination is shot down and a lesson is learned – that in such a liberal/conservative political dichotomy the only judges to be approved are those who are truly impartial”

    Well, if you can find a qualified federal judge that is truly impartial, then you are a better man than I am. The Supreme Court has been, and actually is, filled with both liberals and conservatives with fairly predictable decision patterns. Pretending that Alito is the first to have specific views coming in is naive.

    I might add that I don’t think a judge is prejudiced if he doesn’t agree with my own personal point of view. Them’s the brakes.
       —todd    Jan. 27 '06 - 02:12PM    #
  12. “I didn’t hear enough information about [Miers] to form an opinion.” =k luck

    apparently, there wasn’t information enough to begin with…senators said she needed to take a crash course in constitutional law…yikes…

    filibuster baby!,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 27 '06 - 02:28PM    #
  13. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted on Friday he and fellow Democrats lack the votes to block President George W. Bush’s nomination of conservative appeals judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Everyone knows there is not enough votes to support a filibuster,” Reid said, referring to the procedural roadblock that some Democrats said should be used to put off a vote on Alito.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 27 '06 - 02:36PM    #
  14. karen,

    that’s too bad…i was a big fan of the system of checks and balances…

    “Leader, leader, leader!” -Homer Simpson, sung to the tune of “Batman.”

    submit,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 27 '06 - 05:24PM    #
  15. ”[Ginsburg] was a leader of the ACLU.” k luck

    one worked to protect the freedoms granted to us in the constitution…one works against the constitution to weaken the judiciary and the legislative in order to expand executive power…

    jefferson, madison and washington must be rolling in their graves…

    get behind the struggle,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 27 '06 - 05:43PM    #
  16. Ari, you can still hope. Reid was just being “glass half empty” (or rather, just plain realistic…). 42 senators have not voiced support for Alito, and it takes 41 votes to filibuster. Possible, but not likely.

    Todd, are you implying that the senators who select our impartial federal judges have been hand picking partisan jurists for years? Oh wait… You’re right… Maybe, just maybe, a few good ones snuck through some how.
       —FAA    Jan. 27 '06 - 06:51PM    #
  17. If democrats play filibuster card, I hope Bill Frist would bring up the nuclear option and tell the democrats to shove it.
       —RS    Jan. 28 '06 - 12:16AM    #
  18. “Todd, are you implying that the senators who select our impartial federal judges have been hand picking partisan jurists for years? Oh wait… You’re right… Maybe, just maybe, a few good ones snuck through some how.”

    Well sure. Let’s put it this way: whenever a case is heard before the court, aren’t there always a few givens?

    In other words, when you read articles about upcoming cases in the trades, don’t you find journalists explaining that so-and-so is sure to vote this way, and so-and-so is sure to vote that way, with the only question being what the fence-sitters are going to do? Come on. You aren’t trying to tell me that each and ever case heard before the court is a complete crap shoot are you?

    Some Bush haters out there (and yes, count me as one of those) were P’oed about installing a complete moron as the head of FEMA. Then they turn around and try and poo-poo Roberts who, during the confirmation hearings, showed that he was easily the smartest person in the room. The man is clearly a legal genius, and he had a terrific reputation. Sold me.

    Now on to Alito. Here’s what the American Bar Association said in a letter to the New York Times:

    Letter to the Editor of the New York Times

    January 25, 2006

    To the Editor:

    Wednesday’s column on the American Bar Association evaluations of federal court nominees seriously misrepresents what the ABA Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary does and what it does not do. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you want to ensure that those nominated to the federal bench are professionally qualified so that the courts deliver justice.

    That is why more than 50 years ago President Eisenhower asked the ABA to evaluate the professional qualifications of prospective judicial nominees, by reaching into the legal community and talking to those who know firsthand a nominee’s professional strengths and weaknesses. And that is why over the years, Democrats and Republicans alike have turned to our committee and consistently praised our contribution.

    What the ABA’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary does not consider, and has never looked at, is a nominee’s ideology or politics. It focuses entirely on professional qualifications—a nominee’s integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament. Our only goal has been and is to advance the fair and impartial administration of justice by helping to assure an independent and qualified judiciary for the American people.

    The standing committee operates separately and independently from the ABA itself, to the point that no member outside that committee – not even the ABA president – knows who is interviewed or what conclusions are drawn about a nominee’s writings. A nominee’s rating becomes public when, and only when, it has been submitted to the Senate and the Administration.

    By looking at each nominee individually, and solely at their professional qualifications, the committee leaves all political evaluation to others. The committee’s standards are not Democratic standards or Republican standards. They are objective standards, carefully defined and applied free of partisanship or ideology.

    To suggest that Chief Justice Roberts and Judge Alito were given the ABA’s highest rating for cynical and tactical reasons is an insult, not only to the ABA and its committee, but to the judges themselves. Chief Justice Roberts and Judge Alito gained the ABA committee’s highest professional rating for one reason only: they earned it.

    Sincerely,

    Michael S. Greco

    President, American Bar Association

    Now after we bitch and complain about the utter incompetence of the Bush administration (well earned) as well as its corruption, we get two judges who are not just well qualified, but according to a group of the best legal minds that our country has are fine, fine impartial judges, what do we do?

    We bitch and complain all over again. Pick one: either we judge people according to their political beliefs and wind up with a guy like Brown headin FEMA, or we ask for brilliant people with talents and ethics who may not jive with our own personal beliefs.

    Although I may not agree with Alito or Roberts view on some really important subjects, I’d take them over that Brown guy seven days a week and twice on sunday…....
       —todd    Jan. 28 '06 - 12:59AM    #
  19. todd, bork was the smartest guy in the room, too. do you think the senate was wrong in sending him packing?

    or how about lex luthor? he’s smart, too, but do you think he is supreme court material? (oh wait, someone just told me he is a fictional character … so i guess i mean this question rhetorically, heh.)
       —peter honeyman    Jan. 28 '06 - 11:40AM    #
  20. Hey, give Todd a break on this one. He’s not a senator.

    I saw a pro-Alito op-ed piece by someeone who knew both Bork and Alito well, and strongly opposed Bork’s nomination. Bork was an unabashed extremist whose every breath was advocacy. From a neutral ABA-standard point of view, Bork’s temperament was grossly incompatible with the judicial role.

    For my part, though, I think the Senate’s advise and consent role goes beyond inquiring as to qualifications, and I would have voted “no” on all three (Bork, Roberts, Alito).
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Jan. 28 '06 - 12:16PM    #
  21. “todd, bork was the smartest guy in the room, too. do you think the senate was wrong in sending him packing?”

    Actually, Kennedy was the smartest guy in the room. Bork was a great legal scholar, but his temperment was not suited for the bench. Intelligence is not limited to the classroom.

    But since you are obviously the expert on picking judges, rather than the ABA or someone who actually has a law degree and decades of experience and the respect of thier peers, how do you decide whether or not a judge is qualified? How they look in his or her suit? Or maybe just if his or her views are exactly the same as yours?

    Point of information on the ABA and Bork:

    They issued him a “not qualified” rating. Hey, how about that. Guess what started Bork’s downfall? Yep, the ABA rating.

    If you recall, Reagan and the Elder Bush’s nominees were supposed to be right leaning as well. From any moderate’s (and most liberal’s) perspective, you have to admit that they have been pretty good judges. Planned Parenthood v. Casey; Romer v. Evans. Hardly right wing decisions.

    What is your fear with these guys? It sure as heck isn’t impartiality. Roe v. Wade stuff? I think that both of these guys may surprise everyone. And yes, I am a advocate of choice.
       —todd    Jan. 28 '06 - 01:56PM    #
  22. Oh, I forgot two things:

    Lex Luthor comment. I laughed.

    Who would you choose for the Court, Peter?
       —todd    Jan. 28 '06 - 02:06PM    #
  23. One final note, and I can’t believe that I’m citing USA Today, but here’s a list of ABA ratings of Supreme Court nominees of recent vintage:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-01-04-alito_x.htm

    You’ll not that the ABA rankings fall pretty much in line with a moderate’s views of these candidates…..note Thomas and Bork as examples.

    Relating to potentially big future Supreme Court cases, I consider myself a moderate, pro-choice, pro-civil (human) rights, pro-gay rights (marriage, and any other rights everyone else gets), and pro-affirmative action. I don’t believe that either of the Bush nominees are certain to vote against any of my views.

    I have yet to read anything that changes this belief. Supreme Court Justices often surprise people when they reach the bench. I can tell you that Reagan and Bush Sr. were none too happy with many decisions their nominees handed down…....
       —todd    Jan. 28 '06 - 02:21PM    #
  24. Sorry, but these times they are a changing.

    Bush will get Alito approved and will likely add two more jurists before he leaves office. They will all be pro-life and support traditional marriage like 70% of Americans today. I can tell you that most conservatives were none too happy with Reagan and Bush Sr.’s appointments and the President is well aware. You all need to expand your horizons beyond the Republic of Ann Arbor.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 29 '06 - 08:50PM    #
  25. They’re against the death penalty?
       —David Boyle    Jan. 29 '06 - 10:02PM    #
  26. well, it seems obvious from ms. luck’s posts that she is the type who believes that mainstream conservatism is simply not good enough, and that the clock needs to be rolled back, because minorities, women, and gays simply made too much progress…thus, we need:

    1. justices who will roll back privacy rights, something that is a fundamental part of american libertarianism
    2. justices that will betray the unique american system of checks and balances, so that the executive power will actually out power both the judicary and the congress, thus making government more likely to be abused and to a greater extent by one person…this was something the founding fathers specifically sought to avoid (it came from a french philospher named montisique, who many of them admired, along with john locke)...

    i’ve never seen the number that 70 percent of americans are anti-choice and anti-equal rights for gays, but it seems that ms. luck is a unique position to evaluate the political situation without using sources…hmmm…

    however, i’m not sure what position that is…she wants to asure us that conservatives are not happy with reagan and bush the first appointees…by that, she can’t mean scalia and thomas, whose judical views can be called “extremely conservative” at best…perhaps she meant david souter, who is a conservative in the sense that he believes in “don’t change what’s working.” or maybe she means sandra day o’connor, who’s conservative positions are clear, yet is also onboard to a certain degree on privacy rights, which would make a libertarian conservative, i suppose…

    i need to expand my horizons beyond ann arbor??? ms. luck, i led astray…i live no where near ann arbor…

    sorry,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 29 '06 - 11:29PM    #
  27. Karen, I think that 70% comment is an outrageous one and you terribly underestimate the American people. I would be surprised if anything less than 100% of the American population supported traditional marriage. And of those 100%, a growing proportion also supports a broader view of marriage and civil rights including gay marriage, which of course has no effect whatsoever on heterosexual marriage and is consistent with the moral and legal principles behind hetero marriage.
       —Dale    Jan. 29 '06 - 11:46PM    #
  28. “i need to expand my horizons beyond ann arbor??? ms. luck, i led astray…i live no where near ann arbor…”

    sorry,
    ari p.

    O.K. – I’ll pretend that this site doesn’t say that you graduated from the U in 2004 and you still have a umich email address. I’m sure you have no ties to Ann Arbor and you stumbled on this site by accident. Right.
       —Karen Luck    Jan. 30 '06 - 08:22AM    #
  29. Karen doesn’t live in Ann Arbor either so you two have something in common.
       —John Q.    Jan. 30 '06 - 11:01AM    #
  30. “I’ll pretend that this site doesn’t say that you graduated from the U in 2004 and you still have a umich email address.” -k. luck

    of all my legalese this what gets responded to??? i need have to remind people that 2004 was two years ago, and that my umich account remains active and will be forward to my new address…

    happy monday,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 30 '06 - 11:20AM    #