Hello all.

Thank you for your comments/suggestions/recommendations here. I really appreciate it!

Dear Senator,

I strongly urge you to vote against the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. Appointing Judge Alito will threaten the fundamental rights and basic legal protections for working Americans of all ages. Two areas of particular concern include the rights found under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)–rights that Judge Alito apparently does not believe are granted to Americans or should be exercised by Americans.

FMLA helps millions of adults balance workplace and family responsibilities by giving eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for life events such as the birth of a child or to care for a parent, child or spouse with a serious illness. The ADEA protects employees and job applicants 40 years of age and older from discrimination based on age. These laws are essential in an age of heightened rhetoric regarding “family values” for younger workers and pension instability and decline of retiree health benefits for older workers.

Hostile to the very concept of discrimination.

A recent Knight Ridder article examining Judge Alito’s record describes him as being “particularly rigid in employment discrimination cases” and has “… seldom found merit in a bias claim.” Is he really so myopic to believe that discrimination either does not exist, deserves no remedy–or that individuals even have the right to present evidence that discrimination even exists?

Apparently so: he was the sole dissent in Glass v. Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). Glass, a 23-year PECO employee, sued for racial and age discrimination after being denied several promotions, even though during that period he earned two engineering degrees and had only one negative job evaluation. During the trial, PECO claimed that the sole negative job evaluation was the reason that Glass failed to be promoted. When Glass attempted present evidence to refute that claim, the trial judge refused. Though the decision was reversed on appeal, incredibly, Judge Alito in a sole dissent claimed that the trial judge’s decision was “harmless” and that if Glass told his side of the story could cause “substantial unfair prejudice.” Evidently, providing evidence in a case one has filed is itself prejudicial.

Ignoring evidence of blatant age discrimination.

In Keller v. Orix Credit Alliance, Inc., Judge Alito denied a former employee the right to preset to a jury his claim under the ADEA despite providing evidence in the form of a statement by the person who fired him: “If you are getting too old for the job, maybe you should hire one or two young bankers.”

Views so radical that he does not believe that Congress even had the authority to enact FMLA.

In Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, Judge Alito found that Congress did not have the authority to give state employees the right to sue their employers for damages for violating the FMLA’s provisions for unpaid leave. Judge Alito even held that FLMA “creates a substantive entitlement to sick leave.”  The Supreme Court later ruled on a similar case that state employees did, in fact, have those right under FMLA. That 6-3 opinion was written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Supreme Court decisions have real consequences for real people.

Judge Alito’s record of opposing basic legal protections for Americans is clear and unambiguous: It is replete with examples of weakening the rights and protections that millions of Americans depend upon. Americans deserve a Supreme Court justice that will rule in a fair manner, not an ideologue who would use his life-long appointment to push a narrow agenda that would winnow away basic rights. His type of extremist judicial philosophy has no place on the Supreme Court. For these reasons, I strongly urge you to vote against this nomination.


Sources: SaveOurCourts.org, a project of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF);
National Senior Citizens Law Center/Herbert Semmel Federal Rights Project; Knight Ridder Newspapers, “Review of Cases Show Alito to be a Staunch Conservative”; EEOC.gov; SAMUEL A. ALITO, JR.: The Published Opinions; SaveTheCourt.org, a project of People For the American Way (PFAW).

Click here for Senate Judiciary Members.

My own “copper coinage” (I have someone here to thank for that phrase): States have rights; people don’t. This warped concept is as antebellum as it is evil. Don’t be fooled because Alito’s bright enough not to snarl; he’s as wingnut as they come … only quieter.

His aversion to age discrimination really struck me after reading this excellent diary, Dude, Where’s My Pension by growthrate, about the sorry state of our pensions. I’ve been following the pension stories with a growing sense of dread. It’s bad enough that seniors may be looking at extended work life because they can’t afford to retire. But what happens if they can’t keep or win a decent job? And what happens to that senior’s adult children when the senior becomes sick–and they have their own family to care and provide for? This is a very real scenario for many people. And yet, all we hear is this noise about “family values” — my ass!

Oh, and of course, there’s his wingnut opinion that my husband ought to rule over me. But I digress…

Please take this letter and adapt as you will. Feel free to use all or in part.

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