Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Turley on Alito

In case you missed the USA Today article by GW University law professor and Clinton-era pro-impeachment talking head John Turley, here are choice quotes:

Despite my agreement with Alito on many issues, I believe that he would be a dangerous addition to the court in already dangerous times for our constitutional system. Alito's cases reveal an almost reflexive vote in favor of government, a preference based not on some overriding principle but an overriding party.

In my years as an academic and a litigator, I have rarely seen the equal of Alito's bias in favor of the government. To put it bluntly, when it comes to reviewing government abuse, Samuel Alito is an empty robe.

...Alito would supply the final vote to shift the balance of power toward a president claiming the powers of a maximum leader. Alito's writings and opinions show a jurist who is willing to yield tremendous authority to the government and offer little in terms of judicial review — views repeatedly rejected not only by his appellate colleagues but also by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As an assistant solicitor general, Alito strongly opposed the ruling of a court of appeals in the seminal case of Garner v. Tennessee. In that case, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old boy when he fled with $10 from a home. Alito supported the right of the officer to kill the boy for failing to stop when ordered, a position ultimately rejected by six members of the Supreme Court and decades of later decisions...

As he did as a Reagan administration attorney, Judge Alito often adopts standards so low that any government excuse can overcome any government abuse.

For example, in Doe v. Groody, Alito wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that police officers could strip-search a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, despite the fact that neither was named in the search warrant nor suspected of crimes. The majority opinion was authored by fellow Republican and conservative Judge Michael Chertoff (now serving as secretary of Homeland Security). Chertoff criticized Alito's views as threatening to "transform the judicial officer into little more than the cliché 'rubber stamp.'...

The Alito vote might prove to be the single most important decision on the future of our constitutional system for decades to come. While I generally defer to presidents in their choices for the court, Samuel Alito is the wrong nominee at the wrong time for this country.

I'm honestly still on the fence about Alito, but these are harsh words from a man otherwised not disposed to trash conservative judges on the basis of their willingness to limit government power.


At 4:17 PM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

Check David Corn who lays out the Democrats plan.

Also Dan Drezner is having a contest on the dumbest thing a Sen says. Check it out.


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