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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:45 PM
Original message
Statement of Sen Joe Lieberman On Alito Nomination....
Statement of Senator Joe Lieberman on the Supreme Court Nomination of Judge Samuel Alito


Mr. President, I rise to discuss the nomination of Samuel Alito to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


This is the sixth opportunity I have had as a United States Senator to consider a Presidents nominee to the High Court. It is surely one of the most awesome and important responsibilities of members of this body because of the uniquely powerful and autonomous role the Supreme Court has in our governmental system and because, once confirmed Supreme Court Justices serve for life with accountability only to the Constitution, as they read it.


Like most of my colleagues I have judged the nominees based on four factors: 1) their intellect and ability; 2) their experience; 3) their character, and; 4) their judicial philosophy.


On the first three factors intellect, experience, and character, I conclude Judge Alito more than passes the test. But on the fourth factor, judicial philosophy, I am left with just too many doubts to vote to confirm this nominee for a lifetime of service on the United States Supreme Court.


Let me now go over these four areas of consideration.


First intellect and ability. In the meeting I had with him, in the legal quality of his opinions over 15 years as a judge, in his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, I believe Judge Alito has shown that he is a person of considerable intellect and ability.


Second, experience. Judge Alitos curriculum vitae itself depicts his excellent and relevant experience as a law clerk, federal government attorney U.S. Attorney, and Appellate Judge on the Third Circuit.


Third, character. Judge Alito was questioned aggressively at the Judiciary Committees confirmation hearings and elsewhere with regard to his character. But I thought he emerged with his integrity and honor intact. The ABA Standing Committee confirmed that judgment when it concluded that he is an individual of excellent integrity and that was based on more than 300 interviews with professional colleagues.


Fourth, judicial philosophy. Here is where, for me, the problems with this nomination begin and, in some senses, end. Judge Alito brings to this nomination process a more lengthy record of judicial opinions than any of the previous five nominees to the United States Supreme Court that I have had the privilege to consider. In his fifteen years on the Third Circuit Court, Judge Alito has written more than 350 opinions. Together, these opinions leave me with profound doubts about whether Judge Alito would protect and advance the special role the Constitution gives the Supreme Court -- as the single institution in our government that our Founders freed forever from popular political passions so that it could protect the rights our founding documents give to every American. Personal freedom and equal opportunity are Americas core ideals, and our Courts have been and must be the great advancers and protectors of those ideals.


To me, that work defines the vital mainstream of American jurisprudence. Based on his personal statements during the 1980s when he was a government attorney, and particularly on his 15 years of judicial opinions, I am left with profound concerns that Judge Alito would diminish the Supreme Courts role as the ultimate guarantor of individual liberty in our country. This is not about a single issue but about an accumulation of his opinions that leads me to a preponderance of doubts.


For example, in civil rights cases, Judge Alito has repeatedly established a very high bar, an unusually high bar, for entrance to our Courts for people who believed theyve been denied equal opportunity and fair treatment based on race or gender.


In one case, Bray vs. Marriott Hotels, the majority of his colleagues on the court said, Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act) would be eviscerated if our analysis were to halt where the dissent (of Judge Alito) suggests.


Judge Alitos narrow reading of the Commerce Clause as exemplified by his dissent in the case of U.S. vs. Rybar, casts a shadow on federal legislation passed to protect the rights of individual Americans which has been, and will be, based on the Commerce Clause.


When asked at his confirmation hearings about the question of personal privacy, Judge Alito accepted the 1965 decision of Griswold v. Connecticut as settled law but, when asked over and over again, refused to say the same of the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. On that most difficult and divisive question of abortion, I personally believe that Roe achieved a just balance of rights and reflected a societal consensus that has continued and deepened in our country for more than three decades. I was left with serious concerns that Judge Alito would not uphold the basic tenets of Roe and that is a very troubling conclusion.


Every time I have voted to confirm a nominee to the United States Supreme Court as I have with Justices Souter, Breyer, Ginsberg, and Roberts two appointed by Republican presidents, two appointed by a Democratic president I did so knowing as we all do that I was taking a risk because I could never know exactly how the particular Justice would rule on the many cases that would come before him or her in a lifetime on the bench. But I ultimately concluded based on their records and their testimony that those four Justices would more likely than not uphold the unique responsibility the Supreme Court has as the most important guardian of the freedom, opportunity, and privacy for every single American. Unfortunately, I have not been able to reach the same conclusion about Judge Alito, and so I will respectfully vote no on his nomination.



***Yes, it's true...
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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. Good on you Joe!
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-27-06 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
19. Agreed... He did something important. I'm glad... If he was a complete
sellout, he could have supported Alito. He is not my favorite by a long shot, but lets save our bashing for Alito, at least until he is defeated.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-27-06 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Exactly. I think Lieberman actually spoke from conviction yesterday.
:hi:
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newsguyatl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. too bad he's just voting this way
b/c he's scared shitless he won't win re-election this year.
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satya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. But isn't that the way the system is supposed to work? He's accountable
to the people that hired him, and voting accordingly.

(please don't interpret this to mean I'm endorsing other positions he's taken, far from it. But it's encouraging to see his vote reflect the opinions of his constituents).
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Exactly.
:thumbsup: If we are getting through to them...the system is working.
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cmkramer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Baloney
Lieberman would've voted no on this nominee regardless of whether he was up for election or not.

The Left likes to lie that he's a conservative, but he's no such thing.

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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. he spends way too much time giving aid and comfort to Bush
Edited on Thu Jan-26-06 03:09 PM by jonnyblitz
by publically scolding DEMS for their lack of war support.
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. i get to vote in CT, too.
muwahaha. :P
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. Right now...I don't care.
We just need those no votes.
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. Kick & Nominated!
:toast:
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jsamuel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. congratulations joe, you just stood up for democratic principles
now FILIBUSTER
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. good speech
:applause:
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-27-06 06:11 AM
Response to Reply #5
18. I sent him an email thanking him. I was actually quite surprised because
he "has no horse in the race" for 2008. I think this was pure conviction. :hi:
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Metta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
12. Knock me down with a feather.
I would have bet the ranch Joe would have crossed over. I think he's a DINO in a big way.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Crazy, huh? I was so stunned that my lunch just about fell out of my
mouth. :hi:
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Metta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Isn't that the truth? :hi: :donut:
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mattclearing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 04:05 PM
Response to Original message
15. Money quote:
"Together, these opinions leave me with profound doubts about whether Judge Alito would protect and advance the special role the Constitution gives the Supreme Court -- as the single institution in our government that our Founders freed forever from popular political passions so that it could protect the rights our founding documents give to every American."
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
16. I never thought he would vote for Alito
The only question is will he support a filibuster. I don't think he'll get in the way of it. Where I disagree with Lieberman is his support of neocon foreign policy and his public denouncement of democrats whenever they disagree with bush foreign policy.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-26-06 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. In the least, I think he will abstain.
n/t
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