Alito could have been stopped: Why Dems should have filibustered the radical

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tags: SCOTUS, Alito



Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon.

One of the biggest “tells” in our modern political life is the extent to which the mere mention that Justice Samuel Alito will deliver the majority opinion in a Supreme Court case strikes terror into the hearts of anyone who isn’t to the right of, well … Samuel Alito.

Sure, an opinion written by Clarence Thomas is sure to be ultra-conservative, but there are enough examples of his idiosyncratic approach that there’s always the possibility that he’s gone off the reservation. And yes, Scalia writing a majority opinion is almost always bad news, but every once in a while he comes in on the libertarian side of the dial so there’s always a sliver of hope. Chief Justice Roberts can cobble together an opinion with a little bit to like and hate for both sides from time to time.

All of them are staunch conservatives whom liberals have no reason to be happy to see delivering a majority opinion. But for unadulterated partisanship dressed up as scholarship there are none with as perfect a record as Justice Alito. He’s purely partisan, without deviation. And he’s also very, very smart, confidently delivering the now predictable one-two punch whereby the conservative majority only partly strikes down long-standing precedent while signaling to the conservative legal community exactly what they’ll need in future cases to blow the whole thing to smithereens.

This excellent Alito profile by Ian Millheiser at Think Progress featured this dramatic conclusion showing just how formidable a right-wing judicial assassin he really is:

In 2005, When President George W. Bush announced Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, he praised his nominee as someone who “understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people.” Less than a decade later, Alito rewrote American religious liberty law, and he did so despite an explicit statement by Congress indicating that Hobby Lobby should have come down the other way. Along the road to Hobby Lobby, Alito made the workplace a harsher, meaner place for women. He inspired talking points for Ted Cruz. And he has an unblemished record as the most committed partisan on the Court.

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