Displaying a contempt for democracy not often seen on the pages of a major American newspaper, the New York Times today is asking the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court not because he is a bad judge or a bad man but because he is a conservative.
And not just a conservative, but a “radical” conservative – a scurrilous charge that the Times makes no effort to prove or justify. Instead, they fall back on the tired old, cliche- ridden leftist cants that have been used by liberals to soil the good name of conservatives since the days of Barry Goldwater:
If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.’s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife’s bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious. Judge Alito is exactly the kind of legal thinker President Bush wants on the Supreme Court. He has a radically broad view of the president’s power, and a radically narrow view of Congress’s power. He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy.
As senators prepare to vote on the nomination, they should ask themselves only one question: will replacing Sandra Day O’Connor with Judge Alito be a step forward for the nation, or a step backward? Instead of Justice O’Connor’s pragmatic centrism, which has kept American law on a steady and well-respected path, Judge Alito is likely to bring a movement conservative’s approach to his role and to the Constitution.
To all but the most willfully self deluded, the idea that Judge Alito will ” reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans” and tilt the scales of justice “against the little guy” is a total fiction. The Times must have called upon the individual who writes the horoscope column for the paper in order to come up with that kind of preternatural nonsense. What the Times is really objecting to is not Alito’s temperament or his knowledge of the law – both rational reasons to oppose a judicial nominee – but rather that he would apply the law as it was intended not as he would wish it or because of some blithering twaddle about the mythical “little guy” getting the shaft.
Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.
Who does the New York Times think represents those “little people” they believe are going to be trod upon by the evil Alito? Are they talking about the lone, heroic “worker” fighting the grasping corporation by asking the court to uphold workers’ rights? Or are they talking about the AFL-CIO who is pretty good at the grasping for power game themselves and who contribute a couple of hundred million dollars in hard and soft money during an election cycle to liberal politicians?
Some little guy.
The certainty with which the Times looks into its crystal ball in order to find Judge Alito wanting is breathtaking. They have “no doubt” that Alito would change “the court’s approach” by advocating the “unitary executive theory” that the Times calls “fringe.” Here’s what the Times means by talking about a unitary executive. It’s from a question posed by Ted Kennedy during Alito’s confirmation hearings:
Our questions in this hearing is: What is your view of the unitary presidency?
You’ve responded in a number of our people, but we were interested in your view and your comments on the Morrison case, which you say is the controlling, but we want to know your view.
And it includes these words: “that could lead to a fairly strong degree of presidential control over the workings of the administrative agencies in the areas of policy-making.”
Now, that would alter and change the balance between the Congress and the president in a very dramatic and significant way, would it not?
It is certainly a novel legal view that “Administrative agencies in the areas of policy making” – i.e., cabinet departments – are under the control of Congress. They are, of course, agencies controlled by the executive branch – unless you are Ted Kennedy or the New York Times. Then they are simply part of the permanent bureaucracy in Washington and as such, a wholly owned subsidiary of the left and the Democratic party. Here’s John Hinderaker:
As we have repeatedly noted, one of the fundamental problems faced by any Republican administration is the entrenched hostility of the federal bureaucracy, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. During President Bush’s five years in office, this hostility has most critically been manifested by the CIA and the State Department, elements of both of which have worked actively to undermine American foreign policy. If the President were able actually to control the federal bureaucracy, as the Constitution contemplates, it would indeed effect a major change in the balance of power in Washington—not, in principle, between Congress and the executive, but between Democrats and their allies in the bureaucracy, and elected Republican Presidents.
The Times also believes it is “likely” that Alito was chosen for “his extremist views on Presidential power.” This also requires a crystal ball to believe. Paul Mirengoff:
The major theme seems to be that Alito will be the tool of a power-hungry, imperial president. The problem is that there’s no evidence of this in his rulings—apparently he hasn’t ruled on any big-ticket questions relating to the president’s war power or the war on terrorism (ironically, John Roberts, with a much shorter judicial tenure, had). Once Alito agrees with Justice O’Connor that war does not provide the president with a blank check, and salutes Justice Jackson’s analysis of the relationship between presidential and congressional power, where do the Dems go?
The answer Mr. Mirengoff is that they just make it up. Since they don’t have a clue about what Alito’s attitude toward the NSA intercept program would be, they believe feigning certitude is enough for the ever dwindling number of subscribers who bother to read what they say about anything.
In the end, the Times reveals its real reason for opposing Alito. They don’t think that national elections should matter:
The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O’Connor’s seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.
Quick! Someone tell the editors at the New York Times that we had an election more than a year ago and that a liberal didn’t win nor did a “centrist.” A conservative won the Presidential election of 2004, one who promised to appoint conservative judges if he were re-elected. He didn’t promise to appoint centrists or women or minorities or anyone the New York Times could remotely approve. President Bush ran on a platform and repeated constantly that if given the opportunity, he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court.
This is what sticks in the craw of the Times’ editors. The people of the United States elected George Bush because he is a conservative. And the Times thinks that overarching fact should not matter. It bespeaks a contempt for the very concept of democracy that more and more, the editors of the New York Times are having a hard time in hiding.
Ed Morrissey and I are on the same wavelength this morning:
If ideology is to be considered, then the New York Times has it even more wrong. It asks whether a conservative should replace a centrist on the court. If ideology has suddenly become a qualifier, then one has to look at who nominates the candidate. The President won election twice, and at least during the last election, Supreme Court nominations clearly were a major issue. He has the mandate of the election to pick the ideological bent of the replacements for any opening on the Court; there is no quota system for leftists, centrists, and conservatives, nor have Presidents been particularly apt at guessing which categories their nominees would fill in the long run anyway. Bush’s two elections show that the people want a more conservative court—so as long as the Times considers ideology a basis for selection, then a conservative judge should be the most acceptable as a manifestation of the demand of the people.
Maybe Karl Rove is sending all of us conservatives invisible thought waves so that we all think alike. Those pithy pachyderms from Elephants in Academia also think the Times needs a remedial class in civics:
Furthermore, I wasn’t aware that the confirmation process for a supreme court justice was some sort of popularity contest. Good lord, are these people in high school? The President won his election and the Republican congresspeople who hold the majority in the legislature won their respective elections, and it is indeed up to them to nominate justices and then vote on them. The number of dinner invitations that Judge Alito receives from the editors of the New York Times is an irrelevant indicator of how they should vote.
Also, Patterico links to a Bench Memo takedown of the Times and points out that they misspelled Lincoln Chafee’s name.
What. A. Crew.