January 10, 2006


The Case of Alito v. O'Connor (Stuart Taylor Jr., Jan. 9, 2006, National Journal)

Affirmative action. The judge has repeatedly blocked or crippled programs designed to protect blacks against the continuing effects of American apartheid. One decision, which struck down a school board's policy of considering race in layoff decisions, thwarted an effort to keep a few black teachers as role models for black students. A second blocked a similar program to shield recently hired black police officers from layoffs. A third blocked a city from opening opportunities for minority-owned construction companies by striking down its program to channel 30 percent of public works funds to them.

Voting rights. Making it harder for black and Hispanic candidates to overcome white racial-bloc voting, the judge has repeatedly struck down majority-black and majority-Hispanic voting districts because of their supposedly irregular shape. But the judge saw no problem with the gerrymandering of bizarrely shaped districts by Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature to rig elections against Democrats!

Civil rights and women's rights. Decision after decision has made it harder for victims of racial and gender discrimination to vindicate their rights. One used a narrow reading of Title IX, the federal law banning gender discrimination by federally funded schools and colleges, to block victims from suing unless the federal money went to the particular discriminatory program. A second blocked victims of racial and other discrimination from suing federally funded programs and institutions unless they can prove intent to discriminate -- often an impossible burden. A third barred victims of rape and domestic violence from suing under the federal Violence Against Women Act.

Gay rights. One decision allowed states to prosecute and brand gay people as criminals for enjoying sexual relations, even in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Another supported a homophobic group's discriminatory exclusion of gay boys and men, citing the group's "freedom of association." [...]

Civil liberties. One decision gave a virtual blank check for government investigators to conduct aerial surveillance of citizens -- even by hovering over the fenced yards of private homes. A second upheld the forfeiture of a woman's car because her faithless husband had been parked in it while receiving oral sex from a prostitute. Two more gave presidents absolute immunity and attorneys general almost absolute immunity from lawsuits for their official acts, including the Nixon administration's illegal wiretapping of political opponents. And the judge approved a police officer's fatal shooting of an unarmed, 15-year-old black youth, in the back, because he was suspected of fleeing the scene of a minor burglary.

Choice. The judge has called abortion "morally repugnant"; declared Roe v. Wade to be "on a collision course with itself"; claimed that governments have "compelling interests in the protection of potential human life ... throughout pregnancy"; and forced terrified minors to notify often-abusive parents (or beg judges for permission) before they can obtain abortions. [...]

I could go on. But as you've probably figured out by now, I have been playing a little trick. None of the opinions, dissents, or votes described above (accurately if incompletely) were Judge Alito's. All were Justice O'Connor's.

That the Right considers Ms O'Connor and Senator McCain unacceptably liberal and that Democrats, in turn, love them suggests just how badly the culture wars are going for the Left.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2006 5:23 PM

"Making it harder for black and Hispanic candidates to overcome white racial-bloc voting"

Well he does have a sense of humor.

Posted by: h-man at January 10, 2006 5:40 PM

It's just one more piece of evidence of how far those people have gotten themselves into a hurt locker.

Somebody like McCain, who is actualy quite conservative, throws a crumb or two to the other side, and he suddenly becomes the Great Left Hope, guaranteed lots of favorable attention.

Is is very hard to avoid the impression of collusion, so great is the extent that those people allow themselves to be steered like radio-controlled model airplanes.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 10, 2006 6:40 PM

The media darling, McCain, will be dumped by said media the moment the DemoRats nominate a presidential candidate. After all, he is still a Republican.

Posted by: obc at January 10, 2006 8:11 PM

As an Arizonan, the adopted home state of both McCain and Sandy Baby, I have long laughed at this, especially when Goldwater (to whome they are compared) got pretty wet in his old age.

I'm not sold on McCain. I think he should have run for governor if he wanted to be president. However, if he hires Rove, McKinnon and Jeb, as OJ has implied, he should be ok to follow in JFKs footsteps for getting elected President directly from the Senate with help from the eastern media establishment.

Posted by: JAB at January 10, 2006 9:02 PM

The media don't matter and to the extent they do it will help him with conservatives who even defended Nixon against the media.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 10:43 PM


I forgot how much I wagered in some past comment, but the candidate that hires Rove will lose.

Rove is 85% played out, and Bush was always the smarter strategist.

Posted by: Bruno at January 11, 2006 2:36 AM

Well he got me. I hadn't realised O'Conner was that effective.

Posted by: Genecis at January 11, 2006 8:15 AM

O'Connor was very pro-business and also generally provided injections of common sense into issues. But with abortion, affirmative action, religious questions, and other 'cultural' cases, she usually wimped out.

Posted by: ratbert at January 11, 2006 10:04 AM