Posts Tagged ‘Samuel Alito’
October 16th, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Justice Alito Planning to Skip President Obama’s Next State of the Union Address

You may remember Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction to President Barack Obama’s scolding of he and other conservatives on national television last January.  According to Alito, he’s finished with the farce of sitting stone-faced while being harangued.

The 60-year-old justice, an appointee of President George W. Bush, acknowledged with a smile that his colleagues “who are more disciplined refrain from manifesting any emotion or opinion whatsoever.”

Alito, answering questions following a speech Wednesday at the conservative Manhattan Institute in New York, also said, “Presidents will fake you out.” The institute provided an online video link to Alito’s talk and question-and-answer session.

The president will begin a sentence with an invocation of the country’s greatness, Alito said. If justices don’t jump up and applaud, “you look very unpatriotic,” he said.

But, Alito continued, then the president may finish the thought by adding “because we’re conducting a surge in Iraq or because we’re enacting health care reform.” Justices aren’t supposed to react to statements about policy or politics.

The better course, Alito said, is to follow the example of more experienced justices like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and the recently retired John Paul Stevens. None has attended in several years.

“So I doubt that I will be there in January,” Alito said.

H/T: The Associated Press

October 4th, 2010 at 12:51 pm
U.S. Supreme Court is Back in Session

It’s the first Monday in October which means that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is back in session.  Uber-liberal constitutional law expert Erwin Chemerinsky is not celebrating the occasion.  Instead, he bemoans the conservative ‘take-over’ of the court and sites as evidence the fact that Republican presidents from Nixon to Bush II made a total of 12 appointments to SCOTUS while only two Democrat nominees made it onto the bench.  (Bill Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, while Jimmy Carter was faced with no vacancies during his term.)

Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s law school, singles out 4 of the 12 appointments (John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito) as proof of the conservative ascendency.  But for conservatives a success rate of 33% is hardly a victory; especially when considering that both of President Barack Obama’s SCOTUS appointments replaced Republican nominees, yet didn’t alter the conservative-liberal voting patterns.  Gerald Ford appointed John Paul Stevens, a man who ended his tenure as the leader o the court’s liberal bloc.  Bush I appointed David Souter, a justice who voted in lock-step with Stevens and the court’s other liberals.

True, Bush I gave us Thomas, and Reagan hit a home run with Scalia, but Reagan also put soul-crushing moderates like Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy on the bench; two people who repeatedly frustrated conservatives on issues across the political spectrum.  Ironically, at least to some, is the SCOTUS legacy of Bush II who made solid conservative appointments with Roberts and Alito.  That these two often team with Thomas and Scalia (and manage to cajole Kennedy to heed his better angels) is more the result of a historical accident than a carefully executed strategy.

Imagine the kind of country we could be enjoying had Republican presidents from Nixon to Bush I had a conservative justice success rate of 66% rather than 33%.  As it is, since at least the Eisenhower Administration (Earl Warren, William Brennan) liberals like Chemerinsky have benefited handsomely from liberal appointments by supposedly conservative GOP presidents.

March 11th, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Bush Still Classier than Obama

Say what you will about the 43rd president’s public speaking skills, machismo, or ideology, but what George W. Bush lacked in “nuance” and “polish” he compensated for richly with a statesman’s adherence to protocol.  Even though the Supreme Court repeatedly invalidated carefully crafted terrorism legislation that enjoyed broad majorities in Congress, Bush never took the low and easy road of public scolding.  Nor did he allow his subordinates.

Not so with his “post-partisan” successor.  In a sophomoric move that may permanently affect the public relationship between the president and members of the Supreme Court, President Barack Obama castigated a ruling extending free speech rights to associations like labor unions and corporations.  Not only did Associate Justice Samuel Alito react at the time, now Chief Justice John Roberts is speculating that perhaps justices shouldn’t attend future joint sessions of Congress.  If that happens, it will be one more example of Obama vulgarizing our politics.  (Another is his refusal to call members of Congress by their title of Representative or Senator knowing that they will still honor the tradition of calling him “Mr. President.”)

Maybe Bush 43 played up everyman pastimes like cutting mesquite trees and exercising too much for some people’s tastes.  But when you compare his quiet class both during and after his presidency to the current occupant’s constant whining and unceremonious behavior, it’s easy to see which person is a fully formed man.