Monday, October 31, 2005

Fighting Alito

Think Progress has a fantastic summary of Alito's previous opinions and what they tell us about his vision of America.
ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

Not a pretty picture at all. LiberalOasis has found the correct frame however. Every Democratic comment about Alito should derive from this one essential point, this one central value. Equality, Alito is hostile to the value of equality.
The opinion that people will focus on the most was his desire
to uphold a spousal notification provision in a PA abortion law that
severely restricted reproductive freedom.

Most will look at his opinion to indicate opposition to Roe, and they should.

But fundamentally, it was an opinion that was dismissive of women's independence.


He tried to make it easier for employers accused of sex discrimination to get the cases thrown out, saying that cases don't automatically deserve to go to trial when employers make excuses for discrimination and plaintiffs cast doubt on them.


The majority said
Alito's "position would immunize an employer ... if the employer's
belief that it had selected the 'best' candidate, was the result of
conscious racial bias."

He sought to deny our democratically elected Congress the authority to have the Family Medical Leave Act apply to state government employees, arguing that there was no discrimination in employers' sick leave policies.

(That's a view that was overruled by the Supreme Court in an opinion written by Rehnquist. Yes, he's to the Right of Rehnquist.)

Perhaps what's most disturbing is his view that girls sexually abused at school by other students cannot take legal action against the school for failing to protect them.

For Sandra Day O'Connor to be replaced by a man who has been defined as "an activist conservatist judge [who] has looked to be creative in his conservatism" will be a huge step backwards.

For the sake of the American ideal of equal protection under the law, bring out the filibuster.

Don't make this complicated Democrats, come out swinging and constantly be repeating "Samuel Alito is hostile to equality".

1 comment:

The Manly Ferry said...

I part ways with you somewhat on the quality of what ThinkProgress put together; I think they over-simplified to the point of distortion, but they call that "framing" these days.

On the other hand, I do really, really like how Liberal Oasis argues the Casey ruling...and I also want to say that I reached the same conclusion independently...not that it matters, but....y'know, how it goes. I thought I came up with somethin'.

Anyway, my agreement is somewhere in this post. My overall point: there are ways to get after Alito - even if whether or not this is totally necessary to the future of the Republic is another question - and it's important to make even the arguments advanced in this cause substantive. Once the GOP undermines/ punctures prog/libs arguments, they've already got the distraction they need to edge the debate.