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Why Oppose Alito? I’ll Tell Ya Why

alitotalking.jpgDo not gamble with individual rights and civil liberties. It’s that simple.

Alito was less than forthcoming about his views on unitary executive theory. (And that’s saying it politely.) In his 2000 speech to the Federalist Society, Alito said:

There is no mention in the Constitution of any fourth type of power, such as the administrative power, to which some very distinguished scholars have recently referred, or any fourth branch of government. So, if the administrative agencies are in the federal government, which they certainly are, they have to be in one of those branches, and the logical candidate is the executive branch.

Article II, Section One, makes the President the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. It provides that “[t]he Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States.” Thus, the President has not just some executive powers, but the executive power – the whole thing.

[NOTE: I don’t have a link for the entire text of the speech. I had trouble finding a copy and had to go through some back channels to get one. Just FYI. Sorry I don’t have a link.]

While the Judge tried to backpedal on his prior public statement on the matter, the fact is that Alito’s view is pretty all-encompassing regarding unitary executive and Presidential power.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee put together a response paper on this issue that gives some good background and specific context for why Alito is wrong for America on this issue. You can read it here.

If you are wondering why on earth this could apply to you, then you haven’t been paying attention. Start by reading here about the NSA spying issue and its applicability to Constitutional questions and every day concerns. Or here for a long-winded explanation from folks who believe that the President is the ultimate power behind government. (And a review of how Congress has abdicated its legislative responsibilities by sluffing off the tough questions onto Administrative agencies and, thus, enhancing Presidential power.)

For reasons why the unitary executive theory is not consistent with democratic principles as established by the Founders of this nation, read here. And for more broad information, read the Wiki entry here. And Armando had a good summary of unitary executive equals king in this diary on DKos.

Above and beyond the issues of personal liberty and freedom (as though that isn’t enough), there are also questions of privacy and choice. I’ve actually had to spend time with young teens who have been impregnated by family members (father, stepfather, brother) through rape and incest, and then had to make the decision as to whether or not to terminate the pregnancy or carry a child of incest to term for nine long months. I can tell you that it is heartbreaking for everyone involved, no matter what the decision. To try and criminalize someone who has already been victimized in that manner is horrendous — but to use this issue as a dividing line through inflamatory speech and no compassion for the people facing this heart-rending choice is unconscionable.

That Alito is the number one selection for people like Tom Coburn based solely on whatever wink and a nod someone has given him in a back room that "Alito is one of us" is beyond infuriating.

I don’t want people to have more abortions. If I could, I’d wave a wand and make all babies be born under ideal circumstances to parents who would love and care for them.

But I happen to live in the all-too-real world, where sexual abuse and violent rape and all those other nasty things happen, where children wake up and wonder if there will be any food for them to eat — right here in the US of A — and where other things that most people can never even imagine happen within families and neighborhoods and all over the place.

And I know enough to know this: I don’t speak for God, and neither should anyone else. That’s why it is an individual choice — you make peace with your own soul, your own faith and your own family and friends based on your own, individual and hideous circumstances in each case — and beyond that, it’s no one’s business. And I say this as someone who struggled with fertility issues for close to seven years and fully understands how very precious that life is. But I’ve seen enough horrible things in my life in the law to know that there are just some circumstances where you cannot know unless you happen to be walking in those particular shoes…those very dismal, very difficult shoes.

Gambling with this right is not something anyone sensible should do, given the long-term implications and the horrible circumstances we saw in this country when illegal abortions were being performed. A vote for Alito is a vote for the back alley, plain and simple.

A lifetime appointment to a seat on the United States Supreme Court is not some crap shoot. Vote no. Justice depends on it.

On a personal note, thank heaven Froomkin is back. I was getting the shakes. Hope he and Mrs. Froomkin are enjoying their little Froomkin — and managing to get a little sleep in the process. Here’s my hard-earned piece of advice: sleep when the little one sleeps.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com