Democrats & Liberals Archives

Does Alito Believe in Democracy?

President Bush’s new nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sam Alito, is definitely against abortion. Conservatives are quibbling that though Alito is personally against abortion he may not vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Who knows? Americans should be wary. An even greater cause for concern is that Alito has made statements which imply he is against a basic tenet of democracy: “one person, one vote.” He must be carefully questioned and scrutinized about this.

As part of his application for a job within the Reagan Administration, Alito said this:

"I am particularly proud of my contribution in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

I have stated before that the Constitution never mentions abortion, and that not every right needs to be in the Constitution. A person has a right to an abortion in the same sense that everybody has a right to a proper medical operation (which an abortion is). Some religions view abortion as murder, some religions do not. It is activism of the highest order to superimpose one's religious views upon all Americans by making abortion illegal.

It is obvious to me that Alito, if confirmed, would do all in his power to make abortion illegal. Why do I say that? First, President Bush, a long time ago, said he would nominate justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas; these worthies definitely want to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Second, when Harriet Miers was nominated, the super-conservatives in the Republican Party screamed that her nomination should be withdrawn, because they were not POSITIVE she was anti-abortion. Third, these same super-conservatives are ecstatic with the nomination of Alito. What other conclusion can any rational person draw other than that Alito would do his best to make abortion illegal?

But this is not the worst of what bothers me. In the same job application, Alito said:

"In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause, and reapportionment."

"Reapportionment"? What did he mean by that? It bugged me until I visited Nathan Newman's site, where I read this:

"Alito meant he was against the Supreme Court decisions requiring that all state legislative districts be designed to guarantee 'one person, one vote', instead of giving some districts with very few voters the same representation as urban districts with far more voters."

Wait a minute! I thought "one person, one vote" was the essence of democracy. And here is a man, nominated to the highest court in the land, who disagrees with this concept. And this guy is celebrated as a person who will interpret the law and not make law? I don't know why we are talking about law interpretation when we're not sure Alito believes in democracy.

Does Alito believe in democracy?

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 15, 2005 6:15 PM
Comments
Comment #93260

When did the United States change from representative republic to strict democratic governance?

Posted by: TJ at November 15, 2005 6:59 PM
Comment #93270

So what’s the difference between the liberial judges that made law and Alito?
Alito is Conservitive, so yaall don’t want him. That’s the ONLY difference.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 15, 2005 8:29 PM
Comment #93274

‘right to a proper medical operation’ WTF?

Why wasn’t I told sooner? I can finally get that penis enlargement my wife has been buggin’ me about.

Posted by: Peter at November 15, 2005 9:04 PM
Comment #93293

Good post Paul

a few more points to think over

First If Roe V Wade is overturned (which it likely will be) abortion won’t be illegal, it will be sent back for each state to decide what the law will be. So yes it will be illegal in most red states, but I doubt it will in any forward thinking blue ones. So all the young southern and plains state highschool girls that get knocked up because they where taught abstinence is the only form of birth control will have to take a road trip. The day Bush won election I figured this would happen. Now I am a liberal, and proud liberal and I think that it will help our movement if Roe V Wade is overturned. A womens right to make decisions about their body has been so for over thirty years. I can’t think of any situation in modern history were a right that has been in place for so long has been revoked. When this does happen people will hopefully start being more concerened about what is going on in our federal goverenment and clowns like W will stay in daddy’s trust fund where they belong.

Also I don’t like Alito, the more I read the less I think of him but he is qualified. He does have an impressive and lengthy legal resume. But bush won the election so he does get to pick.

Posted by: Doctor Shopper at November 16, 2005 12:35 AM
Comment #93294


Contrary to popular belief, the United States is not a pure democracy. The United States was founded as a Constitution-based federal republic, where the Constitution trumps all. It’s the Constitution that spells out which parts of our governance are to be democratic, representative, and constitutional.

Election of our representatives are done through democratic elections. The President, however, is not elected by the “one person, one vote” democratic concept. The American people elected Al Gore to the presidency in 2000, but we wound up with Bush because the Constitution mandates the use of the Electoral College concept in the case of Presidential election.

Our rights however, are constitutional based and are not up for democratic election. The recent state amendments banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional under the US constitution because of this. (as well as others)

I have stated before that the Constitution never mentions abortion, and that not every right needs to be in the Constitution.

The Ninth Amendment says just that:

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at November 16, 2005 12:55 AM
Comment #93300

Folks,

Good discussion on Alito. Jayjay, good comment about the Constitution. However, there is another amendment that says: “All rights not specifically given to the Federal government are reserved to the states”. To me, this means that the Washington government has to back off on telling states how to govern and that the people of each state are given a lot of power. Unfortunately, since the mid 19th century, and especially in the 20th, the people have stood by and let the Federal government take over more and more of what they should be doing. And there have been a lot of activist judges and “progressive” politicians that are more than willing to let them

Posted by: jback814 at November 16, 2005 7:12 AM
Comment #93312

Why not quote the entire text of the 10th admendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

It’s not just the States that have had their powers taken away, it’s also the people who have seen their powers taken away in the last 150 years.

Posted by: J. R. Milks at November 16, 2005 8:54 AM
Comment #93313

When did abortion become the only issue? How about capital punishment? How about victims rights? How about mandatory sentences for repeat offenders?

There are so many issues that have nothing to do with politics or abortion - when do we discuss those? Or do the liberals cloud the issues just to inflame their supporters over an issue that was decided in the 70’s (more than 30 friggin’ years ago)???? One that probably will NEVER come up in the court? Because they have to sing the party song and heaven forbid that they should give up this one issue….. BTW, I get a real kick out of all the Y-chromosomes arguing this for the last 30+ years. Must be the same guys who don’t want to marry the girl they knocked up or pay child support……

If this issue were left to the states - as it should have been - what would you people have against this guy? Anything?

Posted by: Ilsa at November 16, 2005 8:56 AM
Comment #93332

Ilsa:
“If this issue were left to the states - as it should have been - what would you people have against this guy? Anything?”

Everything.
Alito is obviously an extremist rightwinger. That means we can all look forward to the rights of the people being trampled in favor of big business interests whenever and wherever possible, and disastrous desisions over the environment, civil rights, and separation of church and state issues — in addition to sending red state women back to the days of illegal back alley abortions and death.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 16, 2005 11:00 AM
Comment #93336

jback814-

The X Amendment has been circumvented through the use of grants. Grants are Constitutional because the States, Non Profits, or the people (see the guy in the funny suit on late night TV promising “free money”) request assistance from the Federal Government (SF 424, Request for Federal Assistance). At that point the Federal Government can add any string they like.

Currently 19% of the Federal Budget goes to Grants and other Federal Assistance.

The case law is Mass v Mellon I think….

As to Alito, he is a conservative judge who will definitely move the court to the right. The time to oppose that, however, was at the ballot box last year.

Posted by: George in SC at November 16, 2005 11:22 AM
Comment #93340

George:
“The time to oppose that, however, was at the ballot box last year.”

Yeah, but who trusts the ballot box? I know I don’t. And neither does the General Accountability Office:

NON-PARTISAN GAO REPORT CONFIRMS CONCERNS ABOUT SECURITY OF ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES!
REPORT: ‘Loss and Miscount of Votes in Recent Elections’

Especially in Ohio:
Has American Democracy died an electronic death in Ohio 2005’s referenda defeats?

While debate still rages over Ohio’s stolen presidential election of 2004, the impossible outcomes of key 2005 referendum issues may have put an electronic nail through American democracy.

Once again, the Buckeye state has hosted an astonishing display of electronic manipulation that calls into question the sanctity of America’s right to vote, and to have those votes counted in this crucial swing state.

The controversy has been vastly enhanced due to the simultaneous installation of new electronic voting machines in nearly half the state’s 88 counties, machines the General Accountability Office has now confirmed could be easily hacked by a very small number of people.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 16, 2005 12:02 PM
Comment #93343

Doctor Shopper,

“So yes it will be illegal in most red states, but I doubt it will in any forward thinking blue ones.”

Excellent point.

Why would we as Americans want judges who would be liberal(soft on crime)
Or conservative(Pro-Christian,anti-minority)?
Why not fair and impartial?
Strict constitutionalists?
Qualified?

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at November 16, 2005 12:06 PM
Comment #93351

As to Alito, he is a conservative judge who will definitely move the court to the right. The time to oppose that, however, was at the ballot box last year.

========

Your right George in SC. It is unfortunate, but very true. I have to admit however, that deep down in my heart with Kerry in there, i do not feel as if we would have been any better off— ok wait, i take that back. A ham sandwhich would be a better president that the goof we have now, but John Kerry? Please.

A bigger concern i have is having Rudi Giuliani running for pres in 08. That guy is a class A clown, i can’t stand him. I live in NY and still think he is a bonehead. I hear enough about 9/11 with Bush in there, can you imagine how much this Jacka** would capitalize on that?

Posted by: tree hugger at November 16, 2005 12:30 PM
Comment #93353

Hey Adrianne—

I think Ny state is going electronic soon. What a horrible idea these machines are. No paper trail, easily hackable. If we can’t get windows to run correctly, what hope do these machines have?

How can they even be sold as a good idea?

Posted by: tree hugger at November 16, 2005 12:32 PM
Comment #93358

George,

While Mass v Mellon posed the question, the case wasn’t decided based on the Constitution. Rather, it was dismissed because the plantiffs lacked standing.

We have reached the conclusion that the cases must be disposed of for want of jurisdiction, without considering the merits of the constitutional questions.
We need not go so far as to say that a state may never intervene by suit to protect its citizens against any form of enforcement of unconstitutional acts of Congress; but we are clear that the right to do so does not arise here.
The mere question of right might perhaps be decided by this court in a proper case with proper parties.

In fact it was the opinion of the court that no branch of government could interfere in the rights of the others:

The functions of government under our system are apportioned. To the legislative department has been committed the duty of making laws, to the executive the duty of executing them, and to the judiciary the duty of interpreting and applying them in cases properly brought before the courts. The general rule is that neither department may invade the province of the other and neither may control, direct, or restrain the action of the other.
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at November 16, 2005 12:47 PM
Comment #93359

George is right.

The Dems made the court a prominent issue in the campaign. The people voted.

The abortion issue is a red herring.

Most Americans believe that abortion should be legal, but with some restrictions. If Roe was overturned that is what you would get in most places. If abortion proponents really feel that a majority of the people (probably a super majority) is so against abortion rights that they will immediately go out and enact all sorts of restrictive laws, they must believe their ideas are so deeply unpopular with so many people that they need to restrict democracy to win.

And stop with the blue and red crap. More people voted for George Bush in California than live in the whole state of Wyoming. There are definite geographic correlations in voting patterns, but they do not correspond well to state lines and they are not persistent. In 1984 EVERY state except Massachusetts went for Reagan. California used to be reliably Republican and Texas was a Democratic stronghold, not so long ago.

Look at the interesting map from Carter and Ford. It was kind of an east-west thing back then.

Posted by: Jack at November 16, 2005 12:55 PM
Comment #93360

JayJay-

I think the relevent language that has been used from this case is:

Probably it would be sufficient to point out that the powers of the state are not invaded, since the statute imposes no obligation but simply extends an option which the state is free to accept or reject.

The statue was the Maternity Act which provided grants to States that agreed to establish programs (strings attached) aimed at protecting infants and mothers.

Posted by: George in SC at November 16, 2005 12:57 PM
Comment #93361

Adrianne wrote:

Alito is obviously an extremist rightwinger. That means we can all look forward to the rights of the people being trampled in favor of big business interests whenever and wherever possible

IIRC wasn’t it extreme rightwingers Thomas, Scalia, and Rhenquist (joined by O’Conner) that were (sorta)recently AGAINST big business interests when concerning eminent domain?

Damn rightwingers, always trying to protect individuals rights to property! Don’t they know everything belongs to the government to do with as it wishes?

Posted by: keithmccants at November 16, 2005 12:57 PM
Comment #93367

keithmccant:

Yeah, just keep pointing to that one decision, because if Alito is confirmed, you’re going to have make use of it for many, many years to come. Have fun!

Posted by: Adrienne at November 16, 2005 1:12 PM
Comment #93372

George,

I’m not trying to be difficult, really. But, the relevent point of this case is that the Federal and State governments can agree to all the “strings” attached to grants they want. They can make any law they wish. They can trash the Constitution and the rights of the people (as they have done). But, unless, plantiffs with standing bring cases before the court challenging such agreements, the court cannot and will not intervene.

So, our out of control government is not the fault of any level of government nor of the courts, but of the people. The government works for us. How much are we willing to tolerate until we fire our employee?

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at November 16, 2005 1:33 PM
Comment #93373

Adrienne:

As opposed to spending thirty years pointing to one decision?

Posted by: keithmccants at November 16, 2005 1:37 PM
Comment #93378

Adrienne-

The truth is out there…..


Seriously, have you thought about volunteering to be a poll worker? Our precinct is tiny, but it’s still an interesting day. The point being is that if you are so concerned about election rigging then maybe you should get involved.

Posted by: George in SC at November 16, 2005 1:58 PM
Comment #93380

The abotion issue is relevant when it comes to Alito and points to how he would rule on other cases.

An Alito vote to overturn Roe V. Wade would make him a true “activist judge”. The very thing the right is supposedly fighting against.

No matter how you feel about abortion, (I am personally against unrestricted abortion. This isn’t going on the record, is it?) Abortion is a right that has been retained by the people for over 30 years. See ninth amendment above.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at November 16, 2005 2:01 PM
Comment #93395

mccant:
“As opposed to spending thirty years pointing to one decision?”

Try again. Roe has been challenged in many ways over the years, but has always been upheld.

George, I’ve been a poll worker in the past, but that doesn’t mean squat when it comes to someone hacking into the computers. I strongly encourage everyone who has electronic voting machines in their districts to vote by absentee ballot.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 16, 2005 2:46 PM
Comment #93396

Seems now is the right time for a constitutional law lesson: The 14th amendment supercedes previous amendments in its guarantee of rights to individuals. In other words, what the 10th amendment may have permitted states to do in so far as restricting civil rights and liberties, is explicitly prohibited by the 14th amendment. Hence, the 14th amendment removes from the states their right to restrict and/or deny individual rights. With the ratification of the 14th amendment, constitutional protections were extended to individuals. As a result, wealthy white-folk (and I am white but, not wealthy) were no longer and are no longer able to repress and exploit those who are not white and/or wealthy. Hence, civil rights and liberties do no depend upon the democratic process contrary to the arguments of right-wingers.

Therefore, it is understandable that such right-wing nuts as Janice Rogers Brown argue that the 14th amendment is unconstitutional. Of course, it isn’t. But, it’s the only shot the right-wing has at turning the clock backwards to the “good old days” of slavery and women residing in kitchen barefoot and pregnant.

As for Alito… I’m not worry about him or Roberts. The next president will have the opportunity to put a minimum of 3 jurists (and probably 4) on SCOTUS who haven’t ripped the 14th amendment out of their copies of the constitution. Further, Alito’s 1985 job application letter makes it clear that Alito will go with the prevailing winds as he did then.

An aside, if Dubya doesn’t manage to utterly destroy the GOP and send it back to the trash heap of history (and he’s doing a pretty good job at that), SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade will destroy the GOP, and that can only be good for the American people.

Posted by: Dr. Poshek at November 16, 2005 2:51 PM
Comment #93397

America is a republic, not a democracy. Read what the founders had to say about democracy.

Posted by: steve at November 16, 2005 3:06 PM
Comment #93589

Paul,
you wrote: “A person has a right to an abortion in the same sense that everybody has a right to a proper medical operation (which an abortion is).”

“Proper Medical Operation”?! Now, I thought abortion was considered “A Woman’s Healthcare” by your buddy Howard Dean?

Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Alito don’t want to make abortion illegal; they just want to follow the constitution and overturn Roe v Wade, b/c Roe v Wade is unconstitutional. By overturning it, that won’t make abortion illegal; the states will still be able to decide. And, letting the states decide is democratic!

Posted by: rahdigly at November 17, 2005 7:02 AM
Comment #93647

The beginning of this starts:

Conservatives are quibbling that though Alito is personally against abortion he may not vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Who knows? Americans should be wary. An even greater cause for concern is that Alito has made statements which imply he is against a basic tenet of democracy: “one person, one vote.” He must be carefully questioned and scrutinized about this.


Blah Blah Blah

Third, these same super-conservatives are ecstatic with the nomination of Alito.

=========================================

Well, obvioulsy the Liberal who wrote this blog is FOR abortion and dislikes Conservatives, so who cares whether or not Alito is for Democracy?? Why the rhetorical question?? Apparently, the purpose of this whole blog is to warn people about those who are against abortion and Conservatism, not to answer a rhetorical question. Why point out that “super-conservatives are ecstatic” blah blah blah. Who cares?? Apparently THAT’s more important than whether or not Alito agrees with or is against abortion.

Posted by: Liberal Adversary at November 17, 2005 11:04 AM
Comment #93662

Adrienne,

Seems like a good use of your time would be learning how to hack into computers so you can countermand the vast right-wing conspiracy of computer hackers that are in training in Ohio right now for the 2008 election. Since your posts here seem to indicate that conservatives are either too stupid or too mean-spirited to govern, liberal hackers need to work twice as hard to make sure that they can make up our minds for us.

All in all it wouldn’t be that bad, it would just make up for the conservative conspiracy that prevented Kerry from being elected in the first place.

It’s amusing to me sitting right in the middle of Ohio that there is no mainstream news coverage of a dispute of the election results here. After the 2004 election, we spent weeks on the conspiracy theories, critiques, and criticism. This year, there was not even a blip.

Oh, by the way, the constitutional ammendments referenced in the article were not just defeated, they were crushed by 10 points more than Kerry was.

In all fairness, I’m guessing that happened not because everyone disagreed with the sentiment, but because they were so poorly written and thought out that they would have to be rewritten regularly to stay current with inflation, federal election law changes, etc.

See for yourself

Posted by: Anonymous at November 17, 2005 11:43 AM
Comment #93673

So what is it these folks proclaiming “America is a republic, not a democracy” want? Do they say this to assert that the states should be able to establish theocracies, or whites-only governments, or what? To deny women in those states abortion, to cut the hands off thieves, to withhold support from the poor and infirm? To make property rights supreme above all others? What is it they are trying to say? That the constitution doesn’t guarantee one person, one vote? It is a vacuous statement, but I fear what it implies in the minds of these misguided individuals.

The constitution was put in place to secure personal liberty. That much is clear from the preamble. What follows are words that attempt to do this. As any sentient creature realizes, words must be interpreted. Those words must be interpreted to the ends stated in the preamble. Else, why have a preamble? When the “strict constructionist” canard is used to trump personal liberty, then it is just a tool of oppression.

I believe a person’s body is autonomous, so women can have abortions; what’s inside her skin is hers until it isn’t inside her skin. And men can have penis enlargements. And anyone can consume any substance they desire, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. These liberal ideas coincide with libertarian principles, but I am not, on the whole, a libertarian. I have to say, though, I agree with conservatives and libertarians who fear that eminent domain has been abused to transfer wealth to individuals. It seems to me that any eminent domain economic benefit should wholly accrue to the people, and none directly to an individual. That is, no individual or corporation should profit from direct ownership of property taken in eminent domain proceedings.

But I digress.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at November 17, 2005 12:00 PM
Comment #93695
Why would we as Americans want judges who would be liberal(soft on crime) Or conservative(Pro-Christian,anti-minority)? Why not fair and impartial? Strict constitutionalists? Qualified?

That’s a question that I’ve been asking for about 45 years Andre.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 17, 2005 12:47 PM
Comment #93930

I am totally against a democracy. Demoraracy equals mob rule. In a democracy you have no rights. In case you don’t know our form of Government is a Republic. No I don’t mean Republician.I don’t support the republican party in any way, but am tired of politicians that don’t even know what type of government we have. It makes me question their education.
Merlyn Compton

Posted by: merlyn compton at November 18, 2005 11:29 AM
Comment #94001

Today’s education should be questioned in general. We educate people to have jobs. We neglect well-rounded-citizen education. Most do not read what our “founding fathers” read on government. Mental Wimp should start by reading Plato’s “Republic” then Cicero’s “Republic” to get a peek at the concepts behind the ‘democracy versus representative governments’ discussion above.

We are a Roman-style representative government, i.e., bicmeral legislature and a separate executive power. Cicero proudly proclaimed Rome’s mixed-style of government over the ‘pure’ forms discussed in Plato’s “Republic”.

Posted by: Vince Eccles at November 18, 2005 3:58 PM
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