Bush has now nominated Samuel A. Alito to fill Sandra Day O’Connors shoes. While I’m a bit surprised that Bush has managed to turn around so quickly and nominate another candidate so hot on the heels of Harriet Mier’s withdrawal, I’m not that surprised by the nominee. Alito is a certainly a conservative’s conservative, sure to please the hard-core fundamentalists. Maybe this is Bush’s desperate attempt to draw attention away from the Harriet Miers debacle, the Libby indictment, and all the rest of the bad press he’s been getting lately. This is what NARAL Pro-Choice has to say about him:
In choosing Alito, President Bush gave into the demands of his far-right base and is attempting to replace the moderate O’Connor with someone who would move the court in a direction that threatens fundamental freedoms, including a woman’s right to choose as guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.
Samuel Alito’s record reveals troubling elements that place him well outside the American mainstream:
* Alito took pains to distance himself from the longstanding constitutional requirement that abortion restrictions must have exceptions when a woman’s health is in jeopardy. He did so when ruling on a law that effectively banned abortion as early as the 12th week of pregnancy and lacked an exception to protect women’s health. The health exception is a fundamental tenet of Roe v. Wade, and the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the need for the health exception this fall. Should Alito’s vote replace that of Sandra Day O’Connor, a fundamental right will likely be lost by next summer.
* Alito has argued that significant restrictions on a woman’s right to choose are constitutional. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Alito argued that all of the proposed law’s restrictions on a woman’s right to choose – including a spousal notification provision struck down by the Third Circuit and, later, the Supreme Court – were constitutional. Alito dissented in part because he would have gone even further than the rest of the court.
* Alito would uphold state laws that place significant roadblocks in the way of women seeking abortion care. Alito concurred with the majority’s opinion in Casey that concluded that “time delay, higher cost, reduced availability, and forcing the woman to receive information she has not sought,” although admittedly “potential burdens,” could not “be characterized as an undue burden.” This opinion practically ensures that he would never find any burden to be undue. (In other words, more and more obstacles can be placed in the way of a woman obtaining an abortion, and that is acceptable.)
Personally, I am in complete agreement with Bill Clinton’s recent plea to Democrats to stand up and fight!