FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Alito Simply Refuses to Answer Fundamental Questions

Up until 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, I watched much, though not all, of the Alito hearings, especially because I was to (and did) appear on a program discussing them on Tuesday evening. One has many impressions of both the Senators and Alito, in both cases some impressions being very favorable, some being very unfavorable, and some in the middle. To discuss all of them would take extensive time and space. One lacks the time, at least currently.

But there is one point that should be made immediately, in the (no doubt forlorn) hope that it could conceivably have some impact, especially because there are elements of the news media too that have recognized it. The point is that, for the most part — not entirely, not always, but most of the time — Alito will not answer fundamental questions. He tells you what principles are involved in a matter and what questions would (he says) have to be asked, and he keeps saying he would have to see the facts and the arguments, blah, blah, blah. But he will not answer the fundamental questions, he refuses to answer them, even though those questions are of vital current and future importance and even though he often does give the impression of seeking to flee from his past views without actually coming out and saying he now rejects them.

Most crucially, he will not say whether he will vote to overrule Roe, or whether the President’s constitutional power as commander-in-chief allows him to engage in domestic eavesdropping. These fundamental issues and others are, in consequence, utterly up for grabs in regard to Samuel Alito, notwithstanding that, as said, he seeks to give the impression that he is fleeing from prior views. People who care about these and other issues from the liberal side should vote against Alito because, based on his past comments, there certainly is a possibility, isn’t there, that he will vote to overturn Roe and in favor of unchecked presidential power?

Alito seeks to give the impression that he will support abortion rights and that the rule of law constrains the President, but he won’t say it, and he won’t say it even though his statement could not be legally binding on him if, in a later case, somebody comes up with persuasive points to the contrary. If he won’t say it, as he in fact won’t, then he is more likely not to support abortion and not to check the President in later cases.

Of course, Alito and the Republicans and others claim that he cannot speak on issues that could come before him. That is the current conventional wisdom, stemming, I gather, from the Scalia (I think) and Ginsberg hearings. Like most conventional wisdom, it is hogwash. Appended below is the portion of a prior blog which discusses why this position is hogwashian.

If Democratic Senators and one or two Republican Senators whom I can think of are truly serious about crucial matters like abortion and overbroad presidential power, they should vote against Alito in committee and should filibuster his nomination on the floor if he continues, as he has until now, to refuse to answer deeply fundamental questions and instead continues his windbagging filibuster against answering them.

What’s more, if there are media in this country, including important ones, that have a sincere view about these matters from what I call the liberal standpoint, they should write and speak about this.*

LAWRENCE R. VELVEL is the Dean of Massachusetts School of Law. He can be reached at velvel@mslaw.edu.

*This essay represents the personal views of LAWRENCE R. VELVEL.

 

More articles by:

Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, is the author of Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam and An Enemy of the People. He can be reached at: Velvel@VelvelOnNationalAffairs.com

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
Louis Proyect
Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619
Robert Hunziker
Amazon Onslaught
Russell Mokhiber
NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care
Ramzy Baroud
Breaking with Washington: Arabs and Muslims Must Take a United Stance for Palestine
Mike Miller
Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides
Michael Brennan
Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 
Jacob G. Hornberger
U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan
Rev. William Alberts
Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast
Nick Pemberton
The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders
David Swanson
Why This Election Is Different
Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019
Christopher Ketcham
The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction
Erik Molvar
Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions
William Kaufman
Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem
Colin Todhunter
Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain
Gregory Elich
Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People
Ron Jacobs
The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them
Binoy Kampmark
Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution
Tom Engelhardt
The War in Questions: Making Sense of the Age of Carnage
Peter Certo
Who’s Afraid of Socialism?
Brett Wilkins
Dresden, February 1945
Missy Comley Beattie
You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier
Thomas Knapp
Yes, the ERA Has Been Ratified
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Short History of Humanity’s Future
Leonard C. Goodman
The Iowa Fallout and the Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Sanders
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Delhi Polls: A Storm Over Winner’s “Religious” Acts!
Saad Hafiz
The Unending Human Tragedy in Syria
Jacob Levich
Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead
Nicky Reid
The Buttigieg Delusion
Gary Leupp
Gramsci and You: an Open Letter to Mayor Pete
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Black America and the Presidents
John Kendall Hawkins
50th Anniversary of Abbie Hoffman’s Intro to STB
Susan Block
Rush Limbaugh Gets Medal for Being the King of Creeps
David Yearsley
Better in Dolby
Peter Harrison
Money is Our Assonance: Seven Short Poems
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail