Divided We Fall

Giving once more the lie to his Campaign 2000 pledge to be “a uniter, not a divider,” President George W. Bush has named Judge Samuel J. Alito, Jr. of the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals his newest nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court.

Having failed to get his very own personal attorney seated on the High Court, the President turned to a deep pool of unabashed conservative judicial temperaments to proffer Judge Alito — and his erstwhile rebellious base returned to the fold, extolling a dream selection.

Amazingly, the President made no bones about his desire to have Justice Alito confirmed by Christmas — and seated on the bench with the beginning of the Court’s term in the new year. While one might hope the Seante would drop everything else it purports to concern itself with to take up an inquiry into His Honor’s qualifications, it seems unlikely any true consensus could be formed around this man in so short a space.

People with good sense are wary of that dissent in which the Judge argued a married woman ought to be legally obligated to inform her husband prior to choosing an abortion; those wary of encroachments on personal freedoms, or concerned a myopically pro-business perspective might not be in the best interests of all Americans, ought to demand a thorough examination of Mr. Alito’s extensive history of opinions and rulings from the bench.

Whether the so-called opposition party in Congress is up to such a challenge is a matter of some debate; whether vociferous complaint of the nominee’s clearly conservative turn of mind is in the nation’s best interest is likewise a proposition with many facets.

The Alioto nomination is a poke in the eye to those on both the Left and the Right who rebuffed Mr. Bush’s misguided dreams in the appointment of Harriet Miers, who was so obviously unqualified to the position she failed to properly complete the Senate Judiciary Committee’s preliminary questionnaire of her curriculum vitiae.

In a fit of pique Mr. Bush has now served up a candidate who has visions of a lifetime of power and glory dancing in the heads of corporate executives and theocratic scolds throughout the land. Forget all notions of moderation, of long-term stability, or judicial rectitude.

There’s an apocolypse coming, and George W. Bush aims to have his peeps damn well ready for it.


  1. Michael Herdegen - November 13, 2005 @ 11:01 pm

    People with good sense are wary of that dissent in which the Judge argued a married woman ought to be legally obligated to inform her husband prior to choosing an abortion…

    In the first place, Judge Alito wasn’t arguing that a married woman ought to be legally obliged to inform her husband prior to having an abortion, he was arguing that there was no legal reason to negate a law, passed overwhelmingly and bipartisanly by the state Legislature, and signed into law by the Governor, that contained the provision.

    He was not advocating a certain social position, he was saying that regardless of the content of the law, and whether or not he agreed with it, the law did not contradict the state or national Constitutions.

    In other words, he stayed within the traditional bounds of the judicial branch, and didn’t infringe upon the prerogatives of the legislative and executive branches.

    Additionally, there were many exceptions to the provision, including if the husband were not the father of the fetus, and if the woman was willing to assert that the husband would harm her if he found out.

    Really, the “notification law” was really just a “notification suggestion“, since there were a half-dozen iron-clad outs for those not wishing to have notification made.

    What is the state going to do, if the mother claims that the husband is not the father, or that she’s in danger of being harmed ?
    Demand a DNA test or three additional people willing to claim that the husband is abusive ?

    No, they’ll just take her word for it.

    Additionally, why would “people with good sense” think that NOT informing the father of the child that’s about to be aborted is a social good ?

    While it’s ultimately up to the mother to decide what should happen to the child, why is it better to EXCLUDE the father’s input ?

    There’ve been a bargeload of sociological studies since the 80s which show that families and children do best, by any standard that one would care to offer, if the father of the children is involved with their upbringing.

  2. lonbud - November 13, 2005 @ 11:46 pm

    Michael is absolutely right about his explication of Judge Alito’s dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He did not express therein any personal view of a woman’s legal rights or obligations with respect to the question of abortion — nor is he likely to do so in the confirmation process preceding his appointment to the supreme court.

    “People with good sense,” however, will recognize it is NOT the proper function of any legislature — regardless of how “overwhelmingly” or “bipartisanly” it may claim to be acting — to infringe upon the privacy of information or decisions between a woman and her doctor.

    Abortion, as sad and tragic and morally challenging as it is in every individual case, is a privacy issue.

    Nor should government concern itself with legislating optimal family communication or behavior.

    I personally agree that healthy family and community dynamics are founded on open communication among all parties, and I encourage dads everywhere to take as active a role in the upbringing of their children as they can possibly manage.

    However, it is not something that can, or ought to be legislated.

    Traditional or not, it is most certainly “within the bounds” of the judiciary to “infringe upon the perogatives” of the legislative and executive branches of government when either of the latter act beyond the narrowly prescribed authority granted them under state and federal constitutions.

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