The Right Coast

December 19, 2005
Alito weighed and found wanting
By Tom Smith

This is so shocking I can hardly breathe. (Thanks to Randy for the link.) A committee headed by Professor Owen Fiss, still of the Yale Law School, who once said in class "I don't even know anyone who voted for Reagan" (a student raised his hand and said "you do now"), has read all of Alito's opinions and found . . . and found . . . can you bear the suspense? are you baffled with the sheer, unfathomable unpredictability of it? You can bear it no longer? Very well! They found

"Judge Alito consistently has used procedural and evidentiary standards to rule against female, minority, age, and disability claimants." And in the workers' rights context, the report discovered that "[t]he employee or union would have prevailed in only five of the 35 employment and labor opinions he wrote." In a number of settings, he tends to deny individuals access to courts.

The report also concluded that at points Judge Alito's opinions appear inconsistent with the prevailing legal thought of other courts. "Judge Alito has held Congress to a more stringent standard than that of the Supreme Court or other appeals courts hearing challenges to the same statutes," the report states.

"A number of Judge Alito's decisions are difficult to reconcile with the general direction of American law," said Brian Deese, a student who worked on the report, "except when viewed in light of the broad philosophical views Judge Alito expressed in his job application of November 1985."

And that's not even counting the long trail of mutilated puppies he has left in his bloody wake. And they want to put this monster on the highest court in the universe.

I find this report incredible on its face. There is no way the law professors on the committee read all 450 opinions. I just don't believe it. Summaries, perhaps. The students, yes, they may have read the opinions. And it probably did them good, since there is little doubt they contained more sound law than they were getting in their classes. There are law students out there who will actually read 450 opinions in order to author a critical report on a Republican nominee, and most of them are at Yale. At Stanford, they are sailing, and USD surfing, and God bless 'em, I say, in most secular sense, of course.

The worst thing about this report is that now we will have to listen to Senator Kennedy read a question like "Judge Alito, in Dinglebird v. Manatee, you held that Eyebrow Challenged Anti-discrimination Act of 1994 did not apply to one-eyebrowed persons in a blatant disregard of legislative intent. Can you explain to us how you reached such a horrible result?" Then we will have to listen to Judge Alito, who in a depressing display of metal powers and resolute preparation, will reply that Dinglebird was actually decided on jurisdictional grounds, and on and on. And Kennedy will just sit there, looking blank, having already forgotten the question he read, and he will be just radiating that desire for a stiff whiskey that way he does, that is so intense you can get a headache if you look at him too long. I think I am going to ask my lovely wife Jeanne not to let me watch the confirmation hearings.