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Monday, October 31, 2005

Some info about Alito

--posted by Tony Garcia on 10/31/2005

Some information about Samuel A. Alito.

Some of Alito's decisions. Based on ONLY the summaries provided I put decisions I agree with in green and those I disagree with in red.
Alito wrote the majority opinion [4] in ACLU v. Schundler, 168 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 1999), holding that a holiday display on city property did not violate the Establishment Clause because it included secular symbols, such as a large plastic Santa Claus, in addition to religious symbols. Such mixed displays had previously been held constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. The ACLU argued that a previous city display that was ruled unconstitutional because it lacked secular symbols colored the purpose of the new display.

A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As Judge Alito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems — such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition — that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." while also adding some exceptions: "These exceptions apply if a woman certifies that she has not notified her husband because she believes [FN4] that (1) he is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) she has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 [corrected] decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.

A majority opinion in Williams v. Price, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003), granting a writ of habeas corpus to a black state prisoner after state courts had refused to consider the testimony of a witness who stated that a juror had uttered derogatory remarks about blacks during an encounter in the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial

A majority opinion in Fatin v. INS, 12 F.3d 1233 (3d Cir. 1993), allowing an Iranian woman to seek asylum in the U.S. on gender persecution grounds. (though not a strong disagreement).

A majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001) [5], holding that the public school district's anti-harassment policy was unconstitutionally overbroad and therefore violated First Amendment guarantees of free speech.

A majority opinion in Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S., 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004) [6], reinstating an administrative law judge's ruling in favor of parents who claimed the school system's failure to protect their child from bullying justified their placing him in a different high school.

A dissenting opinion in Sheridan v. Dupont, 74 F.3d 1439 (3d Cir. 1996)(en banc). [7]. Alito would have required a plaintiff to meet a higher standard of evidence to survive a motion for summary judgement in a sex discrimination case, agreeing with a ruling by the 5th Circuit. Alito earlier wrote the majority opinion when the case was heard before a three-judge panel, [8] expressing a preference for the 5th Circuit's reasoning, but ruling according to 3rd Circuit precedent.

A concurring opinion in Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer, 220 F.3d 127 (3rd Cir. 2000), in which Judge Alito recognized that a New Jersey law banning "partial-birth abortions" was unconstititional in light of the recent Supreme Court case of Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 120 S.Ct. 2597, 147 L.Ed.2d 743 (2000).

A dissenting opinion in United States v. Rybar, 103 F.3d 273 (3d Cir. 1996), arguing that a U.S. law banning private citizens from owning assault weapons violated the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution in light of the then recently decided United States v. Lopez.

A dissenting opinion in Homar v. Gilbert, 89 F.3d 1009 (3d Cir. 1996), arguing that a state university need not hold a hearing before suspending a campus policeman without pay after he had been arrested on drug charges. The Supreme Court later agreed with Alito.

A dissenting opinion in Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 110 F.3d 986, 989 (3d Cir. 1997), arguing against a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.”

Again I stress that the agreement is based ONLY on the summaries provided here.

What have various Democrats said about Alito?
Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA): “You have obviously had a very distinguished record, and I certainly commend you for long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge.”, speaking on Alito's nomination to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ): “I believe Mr. Alito has the experience and the skills to be the kind of judge the public deserves – one who is impartial, thoughtful, and fair. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.”, speaking on Alito's nomination to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals.

Former Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ): “The confirmation of Sam Alito as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey is testimony to the commitment he has shown and the success of his efforts as a law enforcement official. I am confident that he will continue to do all he can to uphold the laws of this nation with the kind of determination and vigor that has been his trademark in the past.”
Just a pair of tidbits:
Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. could all share the nickname Tony.

Catholic Majority - Alito nominated on Protestant Reformation Day: October 31 is not only Halloween but also Reformation Day, the traditional birthday of the Protestant faith when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is trivially ironic that President Bush nominated the fifth Catholic to the current court on Reformation Day, taking a step towards what could become the First Majority Catholic Supreme Court.
Some info for digestion as the Left begins to bash Alito as the Anti-Christ.


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