Monday, January 30, 2006

Bayh Gives Thumbs Down To Alito

To the surpise of noone, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Evan Bayh announced today that he would vote against confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Bayh will now have voted against all of President Bush's Supreme Court nominees, having voted against John Roberts last fall. Bayh also supported today's effort to filibuster the nominee, led by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, but that effort fell well short of the 41 votes needed to block a vote.

“There is too much ambiguity and vagueness in his record in the important areas of presidential authority, individual and civil rights and whether he will serve as an all-important check to ensure the balance our Founders intended,” Bayh said today according to the Star.

What ambiguity? Alito's writings during his service in the Reagan-Bush administrations make very clear that he believes in an all powerful presidency, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and that civil rights laws should be narrowly interpreted.

Many tried to argue that John Roberts' similarly conservative writings during the Reagan administration did not reflect his judicial beliefs. But in the first hot button social issue before the Court this term, Gonzales v. Oregon, Roberts sided with the most conservative justices on the bench in supporting federal efforts to overturn Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law. There is absolutely no reason to believe Alito won't vote just like Scalia, Thomas and Roberts in turning back advancements in the law on important civil rights matters.

Bayh is voting against Alito just like he voted against Roberts because he cannot become a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination unless he stands with the party's more liberal members. His vote, however, will not make a difference. Alito appears to be headed for confirmation with the support of about 60 senators, including several Democrats. At least one Republican, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, will vote against Alito.

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