FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Waffling Alito Charms DiFi

 

Yesterday I wrote in an op ed (Bangor Daily News) arguing that Alito wasn’t Supreme Court timber because, politics aside, he waffled on whether he would recuse himself from cases involving mutual fund companies he owned. First he said-to the US Senate in 1990-that he would do so, identifying Smith Barney and Vanguard by name in writing. And then he didn’t, in one case recusing himself only after a plaintiff in the case exposed his holdings in Vanguard to be between $390,000 and $1 million, more than half his assets at the time.

Now we hear that he is backing away from his 1985 statement “that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” It’s hard to keep up-I thought “spineless” was a term reserved for Democrats. Senator Diane Feinstein, the only woman on the judiciary committee, reports that “He said, ‘I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job and that was 1985. I’m now a judge, I’ve been on the circuit court for 15 years and it’s very different. I’m not an advocate, I don’t give heed to my personal views, what I do is interpret the law.”‘

Incredibly, Feinstein chirps, “The question is, Did I believe he was being absolutely truthful, and I did.”

The real question is, why is it that Feinstein can’t tell the difference between the personal and the political? It’s one thing to hold personal views against abortion, as in “I wouldn’t have one” and even, “I don’t think others should have them.” It’s another to express a judgment about what the laws of the land are, which is clearly what his statement is: “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” That’s a judgment about what the Constitution does or does not provide, not a personal view on whether people should be able to make a given choice. For example, one could hold the opposite view, “I believe people should be able to have abortions,” yet still argue that the Constitution doesn’t guarantee that right. The first is an expression of what you think is right personally; the second is an interpretation of what the law says.

When Alito told Feinstein, “I don’t give heed to my personal views, what I do is interpret the law,” she never picked up on the fact that this was what he was doing in 1985: interpreting the law. He has never said his interpretation has changed, nor is there any evidence that it has. Thus it is clear what his appointment means for Roe.

Feinstein’s lapse in not realizing he was interpreting the law back in 1985 could be convenient for her. She could vote for him, claiming his opposition to Roe wasn’t a foregone conclusion, which it all but certainly is. Then she can later claim, if the landmark decision falls, that she had no way of knowing.

It would be easier to admire Alito if he would just stick to his guns, show a little consistency by recusing himself when he said he would and then being candid: he didn’t think Roe was right in 1985 and hasn’t changed his mind. But he’s a worm, bending what he says to the situation he finds himself in. On the recusal issue he reportedly blamed a computer glitch for assigning him the case, but then said he wasn’t required to recuse anyway. On abortion, he’s stated his interpretation clearly and now just claims it was a personal view.

You don’t have to be a lawyer, much less a judge, to see the guy lacks the strength of character for a position on the nation’s highest court-regardless of whether you agree with him politically. But, apparently, you have to be more than a Senator.

GREG BATES is the founding publisher at Common Courage Press and author of Ralph’s Revolt: The Case For Joining Nader’s Rebellion. He can be reached at gbates@commoncouragepress.com.

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail