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Alito and John Thune’s America

Less than a week after the extreme right slapped him in the face, Bush has apparently done penance at their altar by nominating Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. I’m going to wait for more details but note that one conservative told NPR he was a “grand slam” for the right wing and at least one unnamed Democrat described Alito as a “right wing wacko.”

Notably, when his ilk torpedoed the Harriet Miers nomination, Sen. John Thune quickly chanted their mantra of needing a Supreme Court nominee “in the mold of Justices [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas.” In light of that view and the reports that Alito’s nickname is “Scalito,” let’s see what these two justices want for this country.

  • Each state can establish its own religion. Thomas concurring in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004).
  • Police officers would no longer be required to inform arrestees of their Miranda rights prior to custodial interrogation. Scalia and Thomas dissenting in Dickerson v. United States (2000).
  • The mentally retarded would be subject to capital punishment. Scalia and Thomas dissenting in Atkins v. Virginia (2002).
  • In detaining American citizens claimed to be enemy combatants, “due process requires nothing more than a good-faith executive determination.” Thomas dissenting in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004).
  • Beating and kicking a handcuffed and shackled prison inmate so as to cause bruising and swelling of the face, mouth, and lip, loosen his teeth and cracked his partial dental plate is not cruel and unusual punishment. Scalia and Thomas dissenting in Hudson v. McMillian (1992).
  • Improper and unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities would not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thomas dissenting in Olmstead v. L.C. (1999).
  • The Constitution does not recognize a general right of privacy. Thomas dissenting in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

Welcome to John Thune’s vision of America, a vision that mandates we take great care in assessing Alito’s theories and approaches toward constitutional interpretation.


[E]ven assuming that the Establishment Clause precludes the Federal Government from establishing a national religion, it does not follow that the Clause created or protects any individual right.

Clarence Thomas, concurring in Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004)

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2 comments to Alito and John Thune’s America

  • The problem with your assertions about Thomas, Scalia and Scalito is this…

    The are upholding the role of the Supreme Court in the process. Their findings all represent an adherence to the role of the Supreme Court the way it was intended. They do not rule as to the right and wrong of different social issues but rather on the constitutionality of the cases brought before them. Your assertions that they are supporting interogation without miranda rights is absurd althought that may be a result of their finding. They are simply saying that this is not an issue of the Constitution.

    If you would rather have the Supreme Court decide on all of these issues, then we might as well not have Senators and Representatives but rather just a Supreme Court to decide all of these issues. The Supreme Court is limited and cannot make law. Anything more severely and irreparably damages the balance of powers.

  • Deuce

    See a few examples of Alito’s record opposing the rights of people with disabilities:

    http://www.bazelon.org/takeaction/alerts/alitosrecord-details.htm

    1999, Judge Alito ruled along with other judges on the Third Circuit to allow the National Board of Medical Examiners to flag test scores of individuals who received accommodations on their medical licensing exams due to their disabilities. The plaintiff claimed that the medical board’s practice subjected him to possible discrimination in internship and residency programs. The court ruled that flagging was not discrimination because the ADA does not specifically bar it. “The decision reflects a misunderstanding of and hostility to the ADA,” says Bazelon. (Doe v. National Board of Medical Examiners, 199 F.3d 146 (3d Cir. 1999)).

    That same year, he ruled in ADAPT v. United States Dep’t of Housing & Urban Development, a decision that prevented individuals with disabilities and from suing the Department of Housing and Urban Development for failing to enforce its regulations concerning accessible housing. “HUD had not fulfilled its duty to ensure that multi-family housing was accessible to people with disabilities. It had also failed to investigate complaints of inaccessible housing and take enforcement action, although HUD officials had acknowledged widespread compliance problems,” says Bazelon. (170 F.3d 381 (3d Cir. 1999)).