Talk:Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

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"Democrat" Talking Points Memo

The following is the made-infamous "Democratic" talking points memo over which Chris Matthews expressed great disgust on his October 31, 2005, Hardball. As a viewer of this particular Matthews' show, I must say that his tortured performance was totally unwarranted. Matthews was outraged that the memo was focused on Samuel A. Alito, Jr.'s "Failing to Obtain Crucial Mafia Conviction," when this is only the item at the top of the list and many other controversial topics follow below, none of which did Matthews mention.

Although Matthews implied that "the Democrats" had so quickly produced and circulated the memo, a little reading down into the first paragraphs produces the comment "Alito Is One of Bush’s Most Likely Nominees," making it obvious that the memo had been prepared in advance, as most likely were many others on other possible SCOTUS candidates.

  • Memo link pulled from Whiskey Bar Blog. Billmon commented:
"Assuming the damn thing is authentic -- and I've got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that it is -- it's hard not to despair over the prospects for stopping the Scalito nomination. I mean, this is can't-anybody-here-play-this-game kind of stuff. Here we have a judicial nominee who is somewhere to the right of Darth Vader (at least on the gun issue), who backs strip searches for little 10-year-old girls, who believes the word 'women' is a contraction of 'wombs for men,' and who would probably approve of a corporate employment policy that required black men to dress up in jockey costumes and stand outside on the lawn holding little lanterns. And the DNC has to drop hints that the bastard is too soft on the Mafia?"

This is a notepad document [no pdf apparently available, as was lamented by Billmon as well], therefore it is posted here in talk: Artificial Intelligence 06:01, 1 Nov 2005 (EST)

Judge “Scalito” Has Long History of States Rights, Anti-Civil Rights, And Anti-Immigrant Rulings

Samuel Alito is a judge on U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Appointed to this position by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Alito is often referred to as “Judge Scalito” because of his adherence to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s right-wing judicial philosophy. While serving as a U.S. Attorney, Alito failed to obtain a key conviction, releasing nearly two dozen mobsters back into society. Based on his Third Circuit opinions, Alito has established himself as a potential foe to immigrants, reproductive rights, and civil liberties.

SAMUEL A. ALITO, Jr.: A Brief Biography Born: 1950 in Trenton, NJ. [Federal Judicial Center]

Current Position: U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit: Nominated by George H.W. Bush on February 20, 1990, to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons; Confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990.

Previous Positions: U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, 1987-1990; Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General, Washington, DC, 1985-1987; Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General, Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1981-1985; Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977-1981; Law clerk, Hon. Leonard I. Garth, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, 1976-1977. [Federal Judicial Center]

Education: Yale Law School, J.D., 1975; Princeton University, A.B., 1972. [Federal Judicial Center]

Net Worth: $308,400 as of 1991. [Connecticut Law Tribune, 2/4/91]

Family: Married, Martha B. Alito.

Alito Is One of Bush’s Most Likely Nominees

Samuel “Scalito” Alito Is on Bush’s Short-List for Supreme Court, And Has Strong Ties to the Bush Administration. “Another leading ultra-conservative candidate is Judge Samuel Alito of the Third Circuit, known by some as “Scalito” for his similarity to Scalia in temperament and ideology. A former federal prosecutor and U.S. attorney, Alito, 54, has strong ties to the administration, including to a number of former clerks who have worked for Bush.” According to the Wall Street Journal, “Another rumored short-lister, Judge Samuel Alito of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, is considered a quiet and retiring member of one of the less-influential federal appeals courts. Still, his opinions have attracted notice, including a 1991 vote to uphold all restrictions to abortion in a Pennsylvania law, including a requirement that a woman inform her husband that she is seeking an abortion.” [American Prospect, 1/12/05; Wall Street Journal, 6/23/05]

  • Alito Embarrassed Government by Failing to Obtain Crucial Mafia Conviction

U.S. Attorney Alito Failed to Obtain Conviction of 20 Mobsters, Saying “You Can’t Win Them All.” Federal law enforcement agencies sustained a major rebuff in their anti-mafia campaign with the August 1988 acquittal of all 20 defendants accused of making up the entire membership of the Lucchese family in the New Jersey suburbs of New York. The verdict ended what was believed to be the nation’s longest federal criminal trial and according to the Chicago Tribune, dealt the government a “stunning defeat.” Samuel Alito, the US Attorney on the case, said, “Obviously we are disappointed but you realize you can’t win them all.” Alito also said he had no regrets about the prosecution but in the future would try to keep cases “as short and simple as possible.” Alito continued, “I certainly don’t feel embarrassed and I don’t think we should feel embarrassed.” [Guardian, 8/29/88; Chicago Tribune, 8/27/88; UPI, 8/26/88]

  • Alito Held that “States Rights” Trumps Family and Medical Leave Act and Gun Safety Laws

Alito Wrote Opinion Holding that Certain Provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act Was Overridden by State Law. Alito has sought to go even further than the current Supreme Court majority in several cases in restricting Congress’ authority to protect Americans in the name of federalism and “states’ rights.” In Chittester v. Department of Community and Economic Development, he wrote an opinion holding that the 11th Amendment precluded state employees from suing for damages to enforce their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, a decision that was effectively reversed at least as to family leave by a 6-3 Supreme Court majority in Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs in 2003. [Chittester v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 226 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2000)]

Alito Dissented from Decision Upholding Conviction Under Federal Gun Laws; Argued that Congress Had No Right to Enact the Law. Alito also dissented from a decision upholding a conviction under the federal law prohibiting the transfer or possession of machine guns, claiming that there was not sufficient evidence in the record to show that Congress had the power under the Commerce Clause to enact the law. [See United States v. Rybar, 103 F.3d 273 (3d Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 807 (1997)]

  • Alito Has Record of Hostility to Immigrants

Alito Authored Opinion Allowing Peremptory Challenges for Bilingual Jurors. According to the New Jersey Law Journal, “Excluding all Spanish speakers from a jury does not constitute bias if Spanish testimony at the trial will be translated into English, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The court’s pro-prosecution ruling, in Pemberthy v. Beyer” reversed the district court’s ruling that Latinos were systematically excluded from the state jury in the defendant’s drug-distribution conspiracy trial—which would violate strictures against peremptory challenges based on race or ethnicity. “The prosecution argued that the challenges were not against Hispanics but against five Spanish speakers… The three-judge appeals panel agreed with the prosecutor. In the March 16 opinion, Judge Samuel Alito wrote that the equal protection clause does not prohibit a trial attorney from making such peremptory challenges.” [New Jersey Law Journal, 4/4/94; Pemberthy v. Beyer, 19 F.3d 857 (1994)]

Alito Ignored Immigrant’s Claim that He Was Persecuted in Home Nation. Alito has dissented in a number of other immigrant rights cases, leading to significant criticism by his judicial colleagues. For example, in Dia v. Ashcroft, Alito dissented from a ruling that an immigration judge should reconsider an immigrant’s claim that he would be persecuted if returned to his home country; the majority specifically noted that Alito’s dissent would effectively eliminate the requirement of substantial evidence in such cases in a way that “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 353 F.3d 228 (3d Cir. 2003)]

Alito Supported Harsh Penalties Against Immigrants. In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, Alito argued in dissent that an immigrant’s filing of a false tax return should be considered an aggravated felony requiring removal, which the majority explained was simply “speculation” and contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 218 (3d Cir.2004)]

  • Alito Has Repeatedly Voted Against Civil Rights and Liberties

Alito Tried to Imposed Impossible burden on Victims of Employment Discrimination Based on Race. Alito has dissented in several cases where the Third Circuit found in favor of people claiming they had been discriminated against on the basis of race in employment. In one case, the majority explained that Alito would have imposed an almost impossible burden on victims of employment discrimination by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 110 F.3d 986, 993 (3d Cir. 1997). See also Glass v. Philadelphia Electric Co., 34 F.3d 188 (3d Cir. 1994)]

Alito’s Dissents Show that He Would Make it More Difficult for Victims of Gender and Disability Discrimination to Prove Their Case. In Nathanson v.Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority explained that under Alito’s restrictive standard for proving discrimination based on disability under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, “few if any Rehabilitation Act cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v.Medical College of Pennsylvania, 926 F.2d 1368, 1387 (3d Cir. 1991); See also Sheridan v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., 100 F.3d 1061 (3d Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 521 U.S. 1129 (1997) (decision concerning standard of proof in gender discrimination case)]

Several First Amendment Opinions Show that Alito Values Neither the First Amendment Nor Court Precedents Protecting First Amendment Protections. In Rappa v. New Castle County, Alito concurred in a decision concerning a First Amendment challenge to the placement of election signs by political candidates that essentially disregarded a Supreme Court decision on the issue. As the dissent explained, “nothing in the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, or in ours, suggests that a three-judge panel of a court of appeals is free to substitute its own judgment for that of a four-Justice plurality opinion, let alone that of the entire Court.” An Alito opinion upholding a city-sponsored holiday display as constitutional was similarly criticized by the dissent as failing to give sufficient weight to an earlier court of appeals decision in the same case that had ruled that a similar display “was unconstitutional because it had the effect of communicating an endorsement of particular religions.” [Rappa v. New Castle County, 18 F.3d 1042 (3d Cir. 1994); ACLU-NJ v. Schundler, 168 F.3d 92, 109 (3d Cir. 1999) (Nygaard, J., dissenting)]

Alito Supported Police Officer’s Clear Violation of Constitutional Rights. And in Doe v. Groody, he dissented from a ruling that police officers had violated clearly established constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 361 F.3d 232 (3d Cir. 2004)]

  • Alito Has Record of Hostility to Reproductive Rights

Alito Would Require Women to Notify Husbands Before Exercising Her Reproductive Rights. Alito wrote a troubling opinion concerning reproductive rights in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The Third Circuit in Casey upheld a number of the provisions in the restrictive abortion law enacted by Pennsylvania in the late 1980’s, in an opinion that questioned Roe v. Wade. But the Third Circuit struck down the law’s requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. Alito dissented because he would have gone even further than the rest of the court and would have upheld the spousal notification requirement. He claimed that there was no showing that there would be an undue burden on women from this mandate. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 947 F.3d 682 (3d Cir. 1991) , aff’d in part, rev’d in part 505 U.S. 833 (1992); Washington Times, 10/29/91]

Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas Agreed with Scalito, and Would Have Overturned Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court in Casey refused to accept Alito’s view, except for the dissenters (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas) who voted to overturn Roe. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 947 F.3d 682 (3d Cir. 1991) , aff’d in part, rev’d in part 505 U.S. 833 (1992)]

Alito Has Been Forced by Supreme Court Precedent to Maintain Abortion Rights—But Refuses to Endorse Court’s Reasoning. Alito concurred but refused to join the majority opinion in Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer, which struck down New Jersey’s so-called “partial birth” abortion law. Alito emphasized that the case was squarely controlled by the Supreme Court’s decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, but he carefully avoided endorsing its legal reasoning. [Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer, 220 F.3d 127 (3rd Cir. 2000)]

  • Alito Ruled Against Investors

Alito Ruled That Investors That Bought Junk Bonds In Donald Trump’s Defunct Casino Were Not Eligible For Compensation. The 3rd Circuit Court dismissed ten consolidated lawsuits filed by investors who bought $675 million in junk bonds from Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino. The investors felt that they were misled by about the amount of debt the Casino had accumulated and the risk inherent in the investment. [Pennsylvania Law Journal, 10/25/93]