Once again, we have the circus of a Supreme Court judge’s nomination thrust upon us. The proceedings are truly a spectacle, in the dictionary sense, but also illustrate what DuBord called “The Spectacle,” a fragmented view of reality.
What I find amazing, is how this important choice for the highest court in are supposed free society, a decision that will send out ripples for decades to come, is being orchestrated primarily by a small group of white men, whose ranks are made up mostly of members from the privileged socio-economic class. No women, no minorities, no native peoples and no one who could remotely be considered from the working class. This small, exclusive club, is being given the right to determine the fate of millions of Americans. Amazingly, most of our citizens are acutely unaware of the farce that is being beamed into their homes.
Samuel Alito, like his predecessor, John Roberts, is a relatively young man. He is 52 years old and appears to be in good health and reasonably vigorous. Common sense tells us, based on expected male life spans and prior justices, that Alito could very well serve for the next three decades.
From a quick perusal of various analyses and a rundown of his prior decisions and writings, Alito’s ideology is squarely rooted in the conservative camp. This, in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad. What is problematic in the least, however, is how his views could very well alter in a dramatic fashion, the judicial landscape in the following areas: alter of the following:
Reproductive Rights-In one dissent, Judge Alito would have upheld a Pennsylvania law (Planned Parenthood v. Casey) requiring a wife to notify her husband before having an abortion. The Supreme Court rejected his reasoning, finding that the law imposed an undue burden on the wife.
Free Speech-While Judge Alito clearly supports free speech access for big business, as well as government agents, yet he clearly does not support the claims of prisoners seeking access to newspapers and photographs of their families.
Privacy-Not finding any problems with a 10-year-old being strip-searched, Judge Alito dissented in a case that ruled it unconstitutional.
Workers’ Rights- Judge Alito has consistently sought to limit the scope and reach of statutes protecting workers’ rights and to raise the bar that employee plaintiffs must overcome to bring legal claims. While many of these cases involved technical procedural issues, Judge Alito’s opinions are consistent in outcome. The employee or union would have prevailed in only five of the 35 employment and labor opinions he wrote.
Environmental Law-In case after case, Judge Alito has deferred to regulatory agency decisions, and appears reluctant, or even unable, to pre-empt state environmental laws unless directed by federal statute.
[Compiled from reports by the ACLU and People for the American Way]
It seems fairly clear to me that in viewing his record, Judge Alito will dramatically move the high court, rightward.
Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL, from 1985 to 2004, speaking on C-Span, yesterday, brought up privacy issues and abortion. While Alito apparently isn’t outspoken about overturning Roe, since 1985, he has clearly supported a strategy on Roe that would keep it in place, but eviscerate it and in essence, make it ineffective, by stripping out all provisions that allow women control over their own bodies.
As Michelman said, “Judge Alito wants to turn back the clock on poor women, women of color and rural women, in denying them access to abortion.”
I’m very concerned that a nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court will put him squarely in place to tote the water for his ideological home boys, the all-white, conservative caucus of women-haters. He’ll clearly be in a favorable position to once again, reduce women to being prisoners of their own biology, without a choice in any reproductive matters.
Additionally, those of us who aren’t members of America’s privileged class will find it harder to assert our rights that the Constitution supposedly guarantees us. We will be looking at an America that is less free, less democratic and a country that is ruled entirely by the highest bidders.