As a rule of thumb, I tend to assess nominees for any post in comparison to their predecessor. Let’s test Alito, shall we?

  • Sandra Day O’Connor was part of the 5-4 majority in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that reiterated the right to abortion in the Constitution, and ruled that women shouldn’t have to inform their husbands of an abortion. Alito was on the appeals court that heard the case, and held the exact opposite view.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor was in the 5-4 majority in Gratz v. Bollinger that reaffirmed the constitutionality of affirmative action. Alito thinks that racist employers should be able to not hire blacks for being black.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor thought that random drug tests violated students’ right to privacy. Alito thinks that cops, without search warrants, should be able to strip-search people.
    He also thinks that medical leave laws are unconstitutional, wants to make it easier to deport legal immigrants, and likes discrimination against the disabled. This is who this guy is. No wonder he was chosen, along with John Roberts, from a Focus on Family SCOTUS wishlist. I don’t care if it takes the public eye off of Libby; this nomination is an abomination. Ezra Klein said it best: we can’t stand for a Supreme Court with more Trenton, NJ natives than women.

  • A Sign of the Times

    The Speaker of the House has a blog. Weird thing? It’s actually much, much better than most politician-blogs. Most are basically press-release-style mush that puts one to sleep. Hastert’s, however, is refreshingly straight-talking. I guess he has a safe district and thus doesn’t have much to worry about. Who knows. Anyway, I’m impressed.

    The Specter of Specter

    Mark Schmitt makes a very good point – we are very, very lucky to have Arlen Specter as the chairman of the Judiciary committee now that Supreme Court openings have occurred. Specter’s a Republican, and he did cave in and help push Clarence Thomas through the Senate, but he’s pro-choice, pro-gay, and, most importantly, he played a pivotal role in sparing us both Robert Bork in 1987 and Harriet Miers just now. Just think if Orin Hatch, Specter’s predecessor, a very-socially-conservative Mormon who supported Bork, had kept on as head. Miers might have been confirmed by now, or, lacking that, Bush’s next wingnut nominee would have slided through. Having Specter isn’t as good as having Leahy would be, but it’s close enough.


    Matt Yglesias is just having a field day with Brio, Focus on Family’s teenage publication. It’s all hilarious stuff, bordering on creepy; all I know is that I’d want someone to kill me if I ever wrote this, a letter to Brio‘s advice columnist:

    Dear Susie:
    I’m a 17-year-old guy who’s doing his best to pursue God’s plan for purity. I want to say something to Christian girls that they might not realize: The way you dress really does affect guys.
    Modesty isn’t some outdated, legalistic rule from the early church. When you wear revealing clothing, you’re adding fuel to the forbidden fire of lust in a guy’s mind that he’s trying so hard to put out.
    As men of God — and brothers in Christ — we Christian guys are commanded to respect you and to be pure with our thoughts, eyes and actions. But it would help us so much if you, as our sisters, would really think about how the way you dress influences us.
    McAllen, Texas

    Today’s News

    So, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination. I heard this much later than anyone else did; in fact, someone called me at about 5:30 to tell me. Of course, as soon as I knew, I had to tell everyone around me. That’s just how cool I am. Anyway, this could be good news or bad news. We’re basically guaranteed that Bush will be shamed into providing a much more qualified nominee. And as he’s replacing Sandra Day O’Connor, he’ll probably want a woman. Perhaps a minority. So, a highly-qualified, minority female…my God! He might nominate Janice Rogers Brown! Well, probably not; as I said before, even Bush isn’t that crazy, and as he’s expanded more than his fair share of entitlements, her anti-government-spending views might not sit well with him. So I think we’re safe in that regard. But whoever it is, they’ll probably be more reliably conservative than Miers, to assuage the as-of-recently rebellious base. While that’s something to be worried about, I’d be willing to take a halfway-competent conservative over Miers.
    The withdrawal was likely driven by Karl Rove, and as such is likely the last important political decision he’ll ever make. The grand jury’s term is up tomorrow, and is going to indict someone, most likely Rove. It also appears that Scooter Libby will get hit with more charges than Rove, including the actual charge being investigated in the first place (that is, outing a covert operative). And with more and more of the investigation centered around Cheney’s office, I don’t think it’s that unlikely that he’ll be indicted as well. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before; Spiro Agnew was indicted while in office, and forced to resign as a result. Judging as Bush and Cheney are just as, if not more, corrupt than Nixon and Agnew, they’d certainly deserve that. But back to my point. The fact is that Bush’s safety net, his main advisors, what’s keeping him functioning – it’s falling apart, thanks to the criminal justice system. Without Cheney or Rove to help him, I can’t imagine how Bush could possibly function for a minute. This means one of two things – either he gives up, resigns, and leaves the presidency to either whoever he picked as Cheney’s replacement or Dennie Hastert (neither a pleasant option), or he tries to keep governing and destroys the country further in the process. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be pretty.
    P.S. Oh, and it seems that Plamegate isn’t the only thing that Rove has to worry about.

    The World’s Finest News Source in the News

    This story‘s so bizarre that it could be in…well…The Onion:

    The White House is not amused by The Onion, a newspaper that often spoofs the Bush administration, and has asked it to stop using the presidential seal on its Web site.
    The seal was still on the Web site on Tuesday at the spot where President George W. Bush’s weekly radio address is parodied.
    With headlines like “Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country” and “Bush Subconsciously Sizes Up Spain For Invasion,” The Onion is popular with readers looking for a little laughter with their politics.
    White House spokesman Trent Duffy said people who work in the executive mansion do have a sense of humor, but not when it comes to breaking regulations.
    “When any official sign or seal is being used inappropriately the party is notified,” Duffy said.
    “You cannot pick and choose where to enforce that rule. It’s important that the seal or any White House insignia not be used inappropriately,” he said.

    The Onion, of course, has exactly the right response:

    Scott Dikkers, editor-in-chief of the satirical newspaper, said its lawyer disagrees with the White House assessment.
    “I’ve been seeing the presidential seal used in comedy programs most of my life and to my knowledge none of them have been asked not to use it by the White House,” Dikkers said.
    “I would advise them to look for that other guy Osama (bin Laden) … rather than comedians. I don’t think we pose much of a threat,” Dikkers said.

    So true that it’s sort of depressing. Just like The Onion.