S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Media On Alito

The Supreme Court balance will absolutely change once Judge Samuel Alito becomes an associate justice. And, unfortunately, he will win the nomination, Democratic opposition notwithstanding.
Throughout these hearings things are not always what they have seemed to be. Kathy Kiely, writing for USA Today, wrote a very middle of the road, "just the facts ma'am" style of story about the hearing. Interestingly, it was through a connection with this reporter that Senator Specter, in an unprecedented move, invited the panel of Judge Alito's fellow judges from the Third Circuit Appellate Court yesterday afternoon. This sets up the possibility of conflicts of interest with later cases coming before the Supreme Court.

The mainstream media has not served us very well in reporting the actual implications of Judge Alito going on to the Supreme Court. The following stories are possible exception. A survey of the remaining stories in my news aggregator, written about the Judiciary Committee Alito confirmation hearings, fall into roughly three categories: "The Direction is to the Right," "His Real Position Is . . . ," and "Things Got Hot."
Direction will be to the Right: Characteristically, the two most respected newspapers in the U.S., The New York Times and the Washington Post, did rather thorough analyses of Judge Alito's views. NYT reporter Adam Liptak did a rather thorough analysis of just how conservative Judge Alito could be, concluding that he is most closely aligned with Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas. Charles Becker, of the Washington Post, concludes in his excellent analytical piece that the confirmation of Judge Alito will definitely tilt the Supreme Court to the right. He concluded that relatively conservative Justice Kennedy would then become the swing voter on the court.
Real Position Is: Because Judge Alito has answered so carefully and vaguely, it has been difficult to assess how he would actually rule when he goes on to the nation's highest court. But a few writers have tackled the task. Their articles suggest rather strongly that Alito will be extremely conservative in his decisions. Slate Magazine's Dahlia Lithwick writes with considerable insight about the real issues masquerading behind the nominee's questions and testimony at the hearings. Another Slate writer, Emily Bazelon, did an opinion piece on whether Judge Alito ever "rules for the little guy." Michael Barone, writing in the US News and World Report, focuses on the cultural differences between conservatives and liberals in the late 1960's and early 1970's, a key issue with Judge Alito, who put himself in the former group from the very beginning.
Things Got Hot: The following stories were far more typical of how the media covered the hearings. Many of yesterday' stories thought that the biggest news was the fight between Senator Kennedy and Senator Specter on Wednesday or Mrs. Alito's tears because her husband was attacked so cruelly by Democrats on the committee. This week's Reuters news story, by Thomas Ferraro and Joanne Kenen, focused on how tough Democrats have been on Judge Alito during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Bill Mears, writing for CNN, also focused on the contentiousness of Wednesday's hearing, this time reporting on the conflict between Senators Ted Kennedy and Chairman Arlen Specter over boxes of requested Princeton alumni organization's papers.
It is unfortunate that the general public has no idea what they are in for with the appointment of this man. It is a watershed time for the nation. We are about to lose many of our rights. The potential negative results for the majority of us are truly incalculable.


My "creative" post today at Southwest Blogger is about how hard it is to predict the future.

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