November 02, 2005

Thoughts About Alito

I have been sitting back and watching the proceedings surrounding the recent nomination of Judge Alito for the Supreme Court with some amusement.

A boatload of conservatives who went apoplectic at the Harriet Miers nomination have regained their composure and have been preening and strutting around the barnyard like a pack of arrogant roosters.

For those of you who are slow that is my nice way of not saying that they have been acting like cocks. Read that anyway you want to, but I digress.

What I find amusing is their crowing and cackling about finally getting a justice who will respect the Constitution because they know better than everyone else what the intentions of the Framers were and how for so long the Constitution has been abused and misused by the current justices.

If the justices had ruled differently on a number of issues the talk would be very different and the discussion would be focused on trying to protect the court from those crazy liberal judges who would send the world spiraling into hell. I alluded to some of my thoughts about this rhetoric the other day but I would be remiss if I didn't mention again my distaste for the foolish behavior on all sides.

Too much time is spent on name calling and not enough on working together.

Here are my concerns with Judge Alito. I don't particularly care for his position on abortion, as I understand it. Since women are the people who give birth I have to defer to them on this issue. I cannot in good conscience try and control their bodies and how they choose to use them. I don't believe in abortion as a form of birth control. It shouldn't be used that way but that is a separate issue and in some respects a red herring for this discussion.

I am also concerned about some of Judge Alito's rulings on religious ground, as I understand them. I am a huge proponent of church and state and find much of the conversation on this to be offensive. I find it offensive to be told that I am antireligion for advocating that the first amendment be followed.

I find it offensive that people think that it is ok to trample the rights of minorities because it doesn't impinge on their way of observing their faith. I believe that Tyranny of the majority is a very real problem and that the best way to protect ourselves is to try and protect everyone.

There is a balance that can be struck, a compromise that can be reached but at the current point in time I am concerned about our ever reaching it. It is far too common an in vogue to choose a side and bash the other without a care for the words that are used.

In short, I am very troubled by what I see. I do not seriously believe that we are on the verge of a complete breakdown or some kind of theocracy but if we do not find a way to tone down the rhetoric and try and occupy the middle ground it will be to our detriment.

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7 comments:

Z said...

Very nicely said. I completely agree and some of those things, well, I have been accused of myself. Because I am also big on separation of church and state and the rights of ALL - I have been accused of being a non-believer, anti-"moral" and anti-"good". I have been told that since I am against a creche at the courthouse and I am against the 10 Commandments being there too, we Jews obviously don't believe in God. Lovely isn't it?

Bill said...

Your comment on not seeing America as a theocracy made me smile.

The following quote you might find interesting it is from a university Prof I know.

In his lecture on the nature of American politics he says.

"it is hard not to see a degree of the theocratic, in a country that prints 'In G-d we trust' on its money and every second public building."

That said I don't see America in the past, as being theocratic, as it is now.

Ironically the first thing I thought of when entertaining the idea of an American theocracy was "g-d help us all."

Ezzie said...

I fall into the "conservative" class, though I doubt I'm of the apopletic part. :)

Nobody knows exactly what the framers had in mind: But we all think we can come to a decent conclusion based on their words. The 1st Amendment which assures that the state will not support an Establishment of Religion (and says nothing about seperation of church and state) is meant to ensure that there will be no official religion, and that the state will not support any religion over any other.

The case in which Alito ruled was about a town that put up nice holiday murals - representative of a number of religions and secular ideas. He ruled that these murals were not intended to establish any religion, and therefore did not violate the Establishment Clause.

As for abortion, he ruled partial-birth abortion legal. He only restricted (in a different case) whether the husband (I don't think just father) - in a non-rape, non-divorced, non-abusive case - should be informed if the wife was going to abort the baby.

I'm not sure what you are referring to about minorities.

Roland Hansen said...

Good Commentary.

Stacey said...

Great post. Alito is too damn conservative.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Very well said, Jack.

It does seem as if our nation is more divided than it has ever been before at any time, and that the voices are not just getting louder, but meaner too.

I thought that the Justices were supposed to interpret the COnstitution. Personal opinions were supposed to be irrellevant. But in this instance, what matters most is how each individual feels about an issue, most importantly abortion, which is a very small issue that these Justices must tackle if you look at it realistically. What about the right to die, labor law, environmental issues, emminent domain, etc?

I am ashamed at the moment to be a member of the legal profession.

Jack's Shack said...

Hi Z,

It is nice to be called a heathen, isn't it.

Bill,

That is an interesting quote.

Ezzie,

As I understood his ruling on the religion case it was a little different than that.

The Constitution doesn't have to say separation of church and state in order for the courts to make an interpretation. It is fair to say that the Framers expected their to be differences of opinion which is why they established a system of checks and balances to try and make it a fair system for all people and fair is what concerns me about religious issues.

People can talk about Judeo-Christian values all they want, it doesn't mean that the country should be run solely from that position and for that matter you know as well as I do that there are some major differences in how we view the world.

Which translation of the aseret dibrot do the Xtians rely upon and which to do we.

What does a Hindu or Buddhist think about them and is it fair for them to be placed in a courtroom where the judge makes it plain that this is his foundation for judgement. It is not right, we need to protect everyone.

Hi Roland and Stacey

Thanks.

Barbara,

You listed some very important issues that should be given more press.