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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems United On Alito

I know I’m late in officially registering opposition to the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, but I’ve said enough negative stuff about him to make my position clear. I agree with the arguments for opposing Alito mentioned in yesterday’s New Dem Dispatch. But I would add to them my particular concern that he is almost certain to do his best, or worst, to undermine or reverse Roe v. Wade, not only eliminating every woman’s constitutional right to choose, but also turning the politics and legislative process of many states into an obsessive, nightmare struggle on abortion restrictions for many years to come. The Senate debate on Alito’s confirmation is fully underway now; it appears Democrats have chosen an “extended debate” as a compromise between the short discussion and quick vote Republicans preferred, and the filibuster at least some Democrats wanted. I hope Democrats now make a more coherent and judicial-philosophy centered argument than was made during the Judiciary Committee hearings. Forget about Princeton. Don’t get too obsessed with the arcana of “unitary executive” theory. The big point is that given a chance to nominate anybody he wanted to the Supreme Court, George W. Bush chose a lifelong movement conservative whose judicial philosphy will tilt the Court to the Right for many years, and will directly threaten the erosion or reversal of constitutional protections that really matter to the American people, beginning with the reproductive rights of women. And Bush did so as a blatant pander to the conservative activists who brought down Harriet Miers, and whom he now needs to defend his wretched record. As of now, only one Senate Democrat has announced support for Alito, and at a minimum, the vote against him will be much higher than against Chief Justice Roberts. Democrats are united on an important point of principle and politics, and while that will not keep Samuel Alito off the Court, it will matter down the road.

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