|Today, President Bush nominated Samuel A. Alito to the Supreme Court. Many will be upset that he is not a woman or latin, but the job here is to nominate a qualified individual and here is his record. At first glance I am extremely impressed.|
Among his noteworthy opinions were:
lone dissent in the 1991 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses. (this will cause him a lot of controversy at confirmation but this seems reasonable to me)
In a 1999 case, Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Newark, the 3rd Circuit ruled 3-0 that Muslim police officers in the city can keep their beards. The police had made exemption in its facial hair policy for medical reasons (a skin condition known as pseudo folliculitis barbae) but not for religious reasons. Alito wrote the opinion, saying, "We cannot accept the department's position that its differential treatment of medical exemptions and religious exemptions is premised on a good-faith belief that the former may be required by law while the latter are not." (agreed)
In July 2004, the 3rd Circuit Court ruled that a Pennsylvania law prohibiting student newspapers from running ads for alcohol was unconstitutional. At issue was Act 199, an amendment to the Pennsylvania Liquor Code passed in 1996 that denied student newspapers advertising revenue from alcoholic beverages. Alito said the law violated the First Amendment rights of the student newspaper, The Pitt News, from the University of Pittsburgh.
"If government were free to suppress disfavored speech by preventing potential speakers from being paid, there would not be much left of the First Amendment," Alito wrote. (agreed - yeah first amendment)
In 1999, Alito was part of a majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler. At issue was a holiday display in Jersey City. The court held that the display didn't violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because in addition to a creche and a menorah, it also had a Frosty the Snowman and a banner hailing diversity. (don't really have any strong opinion here, kind of seems hokey to even worry about, but this seems reasonable to me)
In the case of Homar v. Gilbert in 1996, Alito wrote the dissenting opinion that a state university didn't violate the due process rights of a campus police officer when they suspended him without pay after they learned he had been arrested on drug charges. (agreed - let's find more ways to cut through beaurocratic red tape and remove public officials when they deserve to be. No where in the Constitution does it say that public officials can't be fired for things that private citizens would be fired for.)
One of the most notable opinions was Alito's dissent in the 1996 case of Sheridan v. Dupont, a sex discrimination case. Alito wrote that a plaintiff in such a case should not be able to withstand summary judgment just by casting doubt on an employer's version of the story.
In Fatin v. INS (1993), Alito joined the majority in ruling that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish eligibility based on citing that she would be persecuted for gender and belief in feminism. (agreed - seems to have priorities in the right place)
In a 1996 ruling that upheld the constitutionality of a federal law banning the possession of machine guns, Alito argued for greater state rights in reasoning that Congress had no authority to regulate private gun possession. (agreed - yeah second ammendment)
excerpts are from the following article:
So Alito has worked tirelessly to uphold the Constitution, seems committed to the fair and reasoned practice of law, and has successfully obtained the unanimous consent of the senate on two previous appointments from Ronald Reagan and GHW Bush. Sounds good to me. Congratulations to GWB. I think he will find a great deal of support for this nomination.