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January 31, 2006


Mike Thomas

I have two takes. The optimistic one is that Alito's extremism combined with the right-wing troika of Scalia-Thomas-Roberts will push Justice Kennedy further to the left where he will take up where Sandra Day O'Connor left off, thus changing little in the makeup of the court. The only difference is that there will be more 5-4 decisions and fewer 6-3.

The negative one is that Kennedy does not move left and we have a true shift to the right with a lot of 5-4 decisions going the other way. While this is bad, there is also the silver lining to consider by remembering that major ideological shifts such as this tend to fuel opposition movements. The same way the conservative movement has been feeding off of the Roe v Wade decision all these years, it's overthrow and a return to restrictions on women's rights could spark an outcry and an uprising in the electorate that would help the Democrats regain control of Congress and win the presidency during the next several election cycles.


I doubt Kennedy will move left. He already joined in a fair number of 6-3 decisions. Those will likely be 5-4 now, as you point out.

O'Connor was apparently quite conservative on a number of economic issues, and on those issues little will change on the court. Kennedy will be the swing vote on those issues as he is today.

So there won't be earth-shattering change. At least until Stevens, Ginsberg, Breyer, or Souter retire.

Let's hope we can get someone in the presidency ASAP to put in respectable replacements for them.


- with a straight face - "as if [Bush] cares about immrgiant rights, when we all know he is about to trample those rights." Well, first of all, that's just flat-out ignorant; Bush is, in point of fact, one of the most enthusiastically pro-immigration Republicans, to the point that, prior to Miers, it was one of the most seriously divisive fracture points in the GOP (see National Review, Dec. '04, "GOP Crackup ahead?"). Furthermore, there is zero indication, none at all, that any Republican who is taken seriously has any desire to trample the privilege - not right, privilege - of immigrating to this country. What most people, excepting Bush, are trying to stamp out is illegal immigration, which is a very different issue, and well they should. (I say the foregoing not as some armchair quarterback, but as someone who DID immigrate to this country, and feels deeply grateful for the privilege of having been able to do so. You will find no stronger constituency for clamping down on illegal immrgiants than people who came here legally).4. As a commenter over at TalkLeft points out, it's far from implausible that Sam Alito Jr. has no idea. Do you know where your father was born? How do you know? I know that my dad was born in Nottingham, UK - and I know that because he's told me so. I've not checked the birth certificate, I'm willing to bet you haven't, and I'm willing to bet that Sam Alito Jr. hasn't either. As EJ Dionne in today's WashPost, can we get back to talking about issues which actually matter? This guy is going to sit on the Supreme Court for thirty years and we care about whether his father was born in New Jersey or simply moved here before he could as much as crawl? Please.


Honestly, what they said about Thomas is irrelevant to this. Two derieffnt people at two derieffnt point in time. Besides, you have no idea what *I* would have said about him, since I wasn't blogging back then.There are 2 issues here for me.1. He's replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a moderate swing vote, so the balance of the Court is going to change drastically.2. He's not a conservative in my eyes. He's a *reactionary*. I firmly believe that he will try his damnedest to get Roe overturned, and he will do it because he personally doesn't like that particular law. The fact that he blatantly avoided saying it was settled law in his confirmation hearings all but proves that. His writings and his judicial history show him to be on the side of corporations rather than people and of women's having less right to their own bodies than their husbands do. Really, the man is scary.


Ed. How about the separation of any kind of Ethics from these Conservative baatsrds on the Supreme(ly Corrupt) Court?Mike: Dishonesty doesn't go away, simply because you put a black robe on it .Truer words NEVER spoken!!!! And I just have learned that Supreme Court Justices do NOT have to follow any kind of ehtical or moral canons, like Every Other judge has to abide by.Figures.They are just thieves and thugs in black robes.And Thomas' wife looks like a Clown w/that Statue of Liberty thing on her head. She shouldn't be allowed to be hobnobbing with and working for the tea-baggers. Mike is Absolutely Correct these justices are having these meetings and then making their rules which affect US ALL.It's a Total and Complete Sham.

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