Red Tag Specials for Judicial Religious Rights ‘Wingers
Amid news of Alito’s disturbing views on the separation of church and state and his ruling against HIV-status employees, the Senate Judiciary Committee has set January 6, 2006 — it’s Epiphany Day! (aka the “Twelfth Day of Chrismas,” or it’s just a K-Mart “January white sale” day, depending on your religion) — for the “miraculous phenomenon” of Bush nominee Samuel Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court.
Check out Judiciary Chair Arlen Specter’s (R-PA) deliberative style:
Here’s Reason #1 why: “Senators of both parties said Thursday that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush’s choice for the Supreme Court, had told them he believed the court might have gone too far in separating church and state,” reports the New York Times.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — who, as Texas Attorney General, argued and lost the “Supreme Court case Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe,” said “Judge Alito expressed empathy for ‘the impression that the court’s decisions were incoherent in this area of the law in a way that really gives the impression of hostility to religious speech and religious expression’.”
Robert Byrd (D-WV) was also pleased:
[Byrd] said after his own meeting with the judge that he, too, was “very satisfied” that Judge Alito had said he believed the court had erred by going too far in prohibiting government support for religion at the risk of hampering individual expression of religion.
“He indicated that people have a right, a very distinct right, to express their religious views,” Mr. Byrd said. (NYT)
Say what, Senator Byrd? Is that a little pandering I see there?
The White House will likely claim executive privilege over documents Alito produced as Assistant Solicitor General under Reagan. Those documents are not covered under the Presidential Records Act, and it’s unlikely that they will turn up in the National Archives document search. Those documents must be disclosed. Despite the rosy depiction of Alito’s time as a government lawyer, there are clues that he promoted some of the Reagan era’s most extreme positions.
The clues come from Charlies Fried. … Read the rest.
Below, PlanetOut speaks out against Alito and Slate asks, “Why does Judge Alito treat women like girls?”
According to PlanetOut — which actively opposes Alito’s confirmation — “Alito is credited with helping to author policy that was used to discriminate against people with HIV and AIDS when he worked in the Reagan administration as deputy assistant attorney general. The administration’s policy supported legally firing AIDS patients because of ‘fear of contagion whether reasonable or not’.”
“Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, said Alito’s commentary on people with HIV and AIDS is significant because it made it possible for employers to fire people with the disease.
“‘They were out there taking really radical positions,’ said Davidson.
“Alito told the Washington Post at the time that the measure was not meant to encourage discrimination, but the law did not regulate what an employer could do if he feared contracting a disease.”
“Judge Alito advanced the argument that it was legally acceptable to discriminate against people based on irrational, unfounded fear of risk of infection,” [Terje Anderson, Executive Director of the National Association of People with AIDS ] said. “He supported a course of action whereby base prejudice and misinformation took precedence over scientific fact and sound public health practices.”
And Martha Stewart might as, “Why does Judge Alito treat women like girls?”
Slate‘s story — “Right to Wife” — asks Alito, “[W[hy do you think it’s constitutional to treat a pregnant woman like a child?”
Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a Republican member of the group and one of the handful in his party who support abortion rights, said after meeting with Judge Alito that he remained concerned about the judge’s approach to that issue, to the scope of federal power under the Constitution, and to the “separation of church and state.”
” ‘Red flags’ may be a little early, but concerns, caution flags,” Mr. Chafee said. (NYT, Nov. 4, 2005)
The January 6 date gives opposition groups extra time to examine all of Alito’s “roughly 300 opinions.” (Reuters)
People for the American Way will begin running TV ads this weekend — the first time the group has run ads so early against a nominee.
“The group’s new advertisement attacks Judge Alito as a favorite of conservatives. “First the radical right vetoed Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor,” the script reads. “Now Bush has named their handpicked candidate, Samuel Alito.” (NYT, Nov. 4, 2005)