Samuel Alito is the President’s new nominee for the Supreme Court.
I like this pick a lot. Alito, who is, I believe, 50, has had a varied career, including time as a legal advisor, a trial attorney, a judge, and has spent not a little time in the military.
He’s a very smart person, an excellent writer, and, most importantly, is someone in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas. Heck, the guy’s nickname is “Scalito”.
Oh, and Senators Schumer and Reid have already issued press releases opposing his nomination. That’s always a bonus.
I’m looking forward to digging more into his record and in hearing him in front of the Senate. I understand that Judge Alito is a very engaging and personable man, and it should be interesting watching him handle hostile questioning from the likes of Senators Kennedy, Feinstein, and Biden.
Raising the Dead Update: I was watching a bit of “Fox and Friends” before the official announcement and they had former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell on as a guest. Parts of his comment seemed approprate to Hallowe’en since twice in the space of 30 minutes, he invoked a legend that’s should remain dead: that Republicans filibustered President Johnson’s nomination of Abe Fortas to Chief Justice.
Shame, shame on the former Senator. As he should well know (as a high-ranking staffer in Senator Muskie’s office and a very politically active man himself at the time), the 1968 filibuster of Abe Fortas was supported by Southern Democrats as well as Republicans. It was a bipartisan effort and not at all as he represented it.
Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll hear the name “Abe Fortas” again and again I’m sure it’ll be used to erroneously claim how the Republicans started the filibuster ball rolling.
Letting us Vote Update: Jeff Goldstein is collecting some libertarian reactions on Alito. Since I am one, I’ll give mine.
From what I’ve read of Alito thus far, he seems to be just fine. The three decisions I’ve scanned morning indicate that he favors limiting Congress’ power in line with Constitutional restrictions and giving the democratic process the benefit of the doubt. That’s not going to make Orthodox Libertarians completely happy, but I think they’d agree that we’re all better off when we can hash out our issues publicly at the ballot box on the state and local levels than we are having them decided in the courtroom. Judge Alito seems to lean toward letting the democratic process instead of his decisions decide under what rules we wish to live. That ought to make libertarians plenty happy.
The post by Rox Populi that prompted his thread tossed this into the growing fray:
Would love to hear from Libertarian-types on how it would be okay to have a law requiring women to inform their husbands before they get an abortion.
I don’t have a problem with such a law. Obviously, our laws recognize a man’s responsibility to a child, even if the child isn’t his (since in many states a man can be compelled to pay child support even if he isn’t the child’s father). The law makes a husband responsible for the child if the wife gets pregnant, even through intentional deceit, even if the husband clearly did not want a child.
It would seem incredibly unjust if, in only this case, the husband was not even afforded the courtesy of notification. Note that the law in question doesn’t require the husband’s consent – he’s still helpless to prevent an abortion even if he’s willing to take complete responsibility for the child (and it seems strange to me that a husband could be compelled to care for a child he doesn’t want yet may be prevented from caring for a child he does want).
That assumes, of course, that you believe a fetus is a child. If you don’t – you believe it’s some nonspecific mass of tissue that could simply be regarded as property – then the man still has some interest in the welfare of that property considering that he contributed to it. Sure, that’s pretty flimsy reasoning, but that’s where you inevitably descend if you consider a fetus to be something that is “owned” instead of an semi-autonomous being with its own set of basic rights. If a fetus is a possession and not a person, then the man ought to at least be notified that his property is being disposed of.
The assumption here, from reading Rox Populi’s comments, is that the law requires notification even if the husband is abusive or an absconder. That is not true. The law gave four circumstances where notification could be waived (including the two circumstances I mentioned) and requires only the woman’s unverified statement that any of those circumstances exist or that she notified her husband. This is miles from the “turning women into chattel” screed that I’ve already read this morning and belies an ignorance of his actual decision and the law in question.
What the law said, very simply, is that husbands (and not here also that the law includes only husbands) do have a vested interest in their family and that they deserve some notification before an abortion occurs. That does not strike me as a terribly egregious law, though I’m sure that others will disagree vehemently.
And So It Begins Update: Jon Henke at Q and O answers the same Rox Populi questions and begins to swat down the early and numerous dishonest misrepresentations of Alito’s decisions.