DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> PELICANPOST.BLOGSPOT.COM: The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL, endorses Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, FL, endorses Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court

The following is an outstanding Editorial from today's Florida Times-Union, endorsing Judge Samuel Alito for a seat as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

PelicanPost agrees with the Times-Union's endorsement and recommends their editorial page as a future source for common sense, well-researched and fair editorializing. While I don't agree with them 100% of the time, I have bookmarked them for daily reading.

Included in the editorial are statistics that I have not seen or heard anywhere else---statistics that are, in my opinion, very relevant to the examination and decision-making process.

Today's editorial is presented here in its entirety, with a hat tip to the Editor, hoping he doesn't mind too much that I took license to snag his piece to present it for our readers.
"SUPREME COURT: Alito passing test"

Judge Samuel Alito is well suited to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Independent observers have generally acknowledged as much since earlier this month, when the American Bar Association gave him its highest possible rating. In the past, Senate Democrats have described those rankings as "the gold standard" for evaluating judicial nominees.

Alito, like John Roberts before him, also has an ideal judicial temperament. Not only has he been articulate and thoughtful during his confirmation hearings, he remained calm and cordial throughout a series of attacks that sent his wife scurrying from the room in tears.

A classic conservative

Also like Roberts, Alito is being called "conservative" by critics.

They are correct in a judicial sense, not a partisan one. Alito believes the job of courts is to determine what the Constitution says, not divine new meanings the authors never intended.
That seems reasonable. Public policy generally should be established by elected representatives of the people, who are accountable at the ballot box, not lifetime appointees to the federal bench.
If the supreme law of the land is to change, that should be done the way the founders intended -- with a proposal by Congress or a convention, then ratification by the states.

Alito is being attacked by partisans who dislike him because he isn't likely to push their agenda.
However, the role of judges is not to implement policies favored by some -- or even a majority -- of the Senate. Rather, as U.S. Rep., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. insists, it's to be a "fair and unbiased umpire, one who calls every game according to the existing rules."

An independent record

Alito's critics also are trying to portray him as a right-wing idealogue. He is not.

In a 100-page research paper, a University of California-Berkeley law professor measured judicial independence by comparing how often federal appellate judges disagreed with judges of their own political party, as opposed to those of the other party.

He concluded that only three were more independent than Alito; 94 were less independent. Small wonder. When one looks at what the Constitution says, rather than what he wants it to say, he is more likely to be at odds with his own party -- regardless whether he is a Republican or Democrat.

An attempt also has been made to portray Alito as anti-woman because, as a student at Princeton two decades ago, he joined a student club that lamented the school's co-ed status.
However, The Washington Post reports that former Sen. Bill Bradley, a leading Democrat, was a member of the same group. Also, The Rocky Mountain News says Sen. Edward Kennedy was in an all-male club at Harvard.

Besides, Alito has repudiated the club, saying he was unaware of its position on co-ed education but had joined because it opposed a ban on ROTC.

Lengthy interrogation

Finally, the critics insist Alito hasn't been sufficiently candid about how he would rule on many issues. But, judges aren't supposed to make up their minds before they hear a case. They are to listen to the facts with an open mind, then discern how the laws or Constitution apply to them.
A nominee should answer questions that show whether he understands case law and respects precedent. But, he shouldn't try cases in advance.

At the least, Alito has been more candid than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was nominated by President Clinton. The New York Sun, citing a Republican National Committee analysis, says Alito answered more questions on his first day than Ginsburg did during her entire hearing.
Alito exudes competence and a respect for the constitutional process devised by the founders. It's no wonder a Washington Post-ABC News poll, issued earlier this week, found Americans favor confirmation by a 2-to-1 margin.

We feel certain that the Senate will draw the same conclusion as a majority of the American people.

The Senate should confirm Alito and get on with its other business.

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