Thursday, January 12, 2006

When the Going Gets Tough, the Left Shouts "Racist!"

As Judge Samuel Alito endured his protracted questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee with the Left still unable to make a plausible case for turning him down, the desperation became evident with some prominent Democrat Senators' allegation that the nominee is a racist. The charges appear to be utterly unfounded, but it appears that there may well be some unsavory racial activity in the past of one Democrat Senator on the panel:

Charles Schumer trying to tar Samuel Alito as a racist because of membership in some club? Don't make me laugh. The fact is that Charles Schumer came to power as a New York State Assemblyman in 1974 by virtue of an overtly racist scheme that he created and sold to a naive neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He convinced them that he would use his power to rid their area of black people. And who is my source for this serious accusation? Me.

Yes, me. I was there.

The article by Reform Clubber Jay Homnick in today's issue of The American Spectator Online documents the claim. It is a very interesting story indeed, and very revealing of some unsavory truths of modern politics.

19 comments:

Tlaloc said...

"The charges appear to be utterly unfounded"

tell me which of these you have problems with:
1) Alito voluntarily became a member of CAP
2) CAP was a blatantly racist organization
3) Despite all the news at the time and subsequently about the nature of CAP Alito not only didn't resign from it but also boasted of his membership.

I'm just wondering how you get "totally unfounded" out of that. If you dispute any of the points feel free to say why.

tbmbuzz said...

OK, Tlaloc, we get it. Guilt by association by anyone who is not in the extreme 10% of the Far Left is a mortal sin in your book. (Ted Kennedy was a member of a similar club at Harvard but he is a leftist extremist and thus by definition cannot be a racist).

Now give us one, just ONE example of Alito's racism in his rulings and public life.

James Elliott said...

To Alito's credit, he appears to have distanced himself from CAP in the intervening 21 years since he touted his membership.

But, the whole CAP thing raises a few specters that are not so easily dismissed.

1) Concerned Alumni for Princeton was founded the year Princeton began allowing women and minorities into the university. From the outset, CAP decried the dilution of Princeton's "white, male, Christian" population. That year was Alito's sophomore year at Princeton. Alito is being, at best, disengenuous to say he does not recall such a momentous time of upheaval at that institution.

2) CAP, in the 1980s, became a bastion of outspoken bigotry. A 1983 article in its magazine, "Prospect," decried blacks and hispanics "not knowing their place." To his credit, Alito says that he deplores such sentiments today. This was big among Princeton alums (my uncle, a Princeton alum from Alito's class, remembers the furor). Alito could hardly be unaware of it in 1985.

Alito's answer to Kennedy was that he was concerned about Princeton's barring ROTC from campus, an issue that was over before 1980 and not even a blip on the radar in 1985. Alito's recollections of his involvement in CAP appear to come and go at will.

3) Thus we come to the question of why would he choose such an organization, 13 years after graduating from Princeton, to prove his conservative bona fides to the Reagan Administration (to say nothing of what this says about the Reagan administration and his perception of its conservatives!). Alito is a member of the Federalist Society, founded in 1982. One would assume that this would be more than enough, and that he belonged to other organizations besides.

This beggars the following question: If he has no pride or recollection of his membership in CAP, doesn't its placement on his resume indicate that he is a man who will say anything he thinks a potential employer wants to hear in order to get a job he badly wants? Either that, or he does indeed recall (fondly or not) his days in CAP and lied to the committee. Either way, why then should the committee believe anything he has told them?

In addition, his membership in CAP, combined with certain of his rulings, does raise legitimate questions on his views of civil rights. And if he truly doesn't recall CAP, what does this say about him and his memory for important details like groups he voluntarily joins and pays money to?

No one has accused him of racism. They're accusing him of being disengenuous at best. The only reason Schumer even asked the question was because Alito didn't answer it when Biden posed it. Of course, not answering questions appears to be de rigeur for Republican nominees.

The whole "You made Mrs. Alito cry!" thing is dumb. She left during Lindsey Graham's questioning period, and video and eyewitnesses describe her as teary-eyed, not crying. All indications are that the Mrs. had a migraine. If we had to sit through something that boring, we'd all have headaches too.

My favorite parts so far have been Cornryn calling Alito "Scalito" and his utterly Clintonian response on whether Roe is settled law: "If 'settled' means it can't be reexamined, that's one thing," Alito said. "If 'settled' means it is a precedent entitled to respect as stare decisis. . . then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis in that way."

It all depends on what your definition if "is" is.

Alito's Roe responses have set him up rather nicely if someone would just have the cajones to jump on it. He has stated that he believes judges should not approach cases with preconceived notions. However, many of the briefs he wrote while working for the Reagan Administration indicate that he has very strong personal beliefs about abortion. He has used the "I was just an advocate for my client" excuse. However, his vehemence in those briefs raises the question CAP raises: If he's the sort of man who will say things that he thinks people with power over him want to hear, why should the committee believe what he has to say?

It's not quite the same as "Liar, liar, pants on fire!" but it's a legitimate question, especially given that he won't answer a straight question about unilateralism, how he interprets the Constitution (he claims he's a textualist but his opinions cry "Bull$#!+!"), or what he thinks of precedent and stare decisis.

Tlaloc said...

"OK, Tlaloc, we get it. Guilt by association by anyone who is not in the extreme 10% of the Far Left is a mortal sin in your book."

we aren't talking about some old friend of his growing up who turned out to be a KKK member. We are talking about a group founded on racist principles that he as an adult chose to join and stay with. That is guilt by association. It is guilt by action.



"Now give us one, just ONE example of Alito's racism in his rulings and public life."

sure:
"Civil Rights: In the area of civil rights law, Judge Alito consistently has used procedural and evidentiary standards to rule against female, minority, age, and disability claimants. He has taken a markedly different approach to religious discrimination, ruling in favor of religious minorities in various contexts."
from the Yale Law School project on Alito's opions. You can find it here:
http://campusprogress.org/uploads/YLSAlitoProjectFinalReport.pdf

The quote is from their summary but you can find the actual cases in the body of the work.

Are we all on the same page now? By his actions both privately and on the bench the guy has proven himself a bigot.

James Elliott said...

OK, Tlaloc, we get it. Guilt by association by anyone who is not in the extreme 10% of the Far Left is a mortal sin in your book. (Ted Kennedy was a member of a similar club at Harvard but he is a leftist extremist and thus by definition cannot be a racist).

Laying the ad homs on a bit thick, aren't you, buzz?

Now give us one, just ONE example of Alito's racism in his rulings and public life.

Public life? Well, that would put his membership in a group like CAP as fair game, wouldn't it? Kinda shot yourself in the foot there, buzz. I'm sure you didn't need those rhetorical toes anyways - your arguments always stand on their own two feet...

It becomes a further legitimate question given Alito's membership in CAP - which attempted to lobby Princeton's leadership into limiting women's enrollment at Princeton to 25% - and his written opinion on Casey, which has been widely lambasted in legal circles, all the way up to the Supreme Court, for assigning husbands and wives a legal role similar to that of parent and child respectively.

Then there's his written opinion of the Warren Court. His opposition to the Warren Court, which he admits has influenced his legal philosophy, is based around disagreeing with "reapportionment." Know what that means, buzz? It means "one person, one vote." It means equal voting rights for minorities. Now, it's a legitimate question whether or not he agrees with the result but not the legal reasoning that got there. However, it's a question he's refused to answer.

Combine that with his limiting view on the Commerce Clause (which may or may not be right, I've yet to form an opinion there - Hunter made a good case once) and what it implies for laws like the Violence Against Women Act.

They're legitimate questions, buzz, and not partisan ones.

JC said...

No one has accused him of racism. They're accusing him of being disengenuous at best. The only reason Schumer even asked the question was because Alito didn't answer it when Biden posed it.
They're asking loaded questions, hoping he'll say something stupid enough to derail his nomination and score political points for the Democrats. Alito is avoiding as many questions as possible because he doesn't need to convince the committee he's qualified, he only needs to avoid saying something stupid enough to derail his own nomination.

The senators may not be calling him a bigot to his face, but they're implying it strongly and attacking his record to try and bait him into saying something they could spin.
Now, it's a legitimate question whether or not he agrees with the result but not the legal reasoning that got there. However, it's a question he's refused to answer.
Exactly. It seems unlikely that Alito is secretly a member of the KKK and wants to deny black people the right to vote and enslave the female gender---if he were, there would be a lot more obvious items than a line on a job application from 20 years ago. But if he tried to get into a debate about detailed legal issues involving race, affirmative action, abortion, etc., he would just be giving ammo to his opponents.

Alito isn't trying to be sneaky, I think, he's just acting in his own best interest as a nominee. It's politics. Same for Roberts. In sports, if you're ahead, run the clock. Democrats are just trying to make the best of the situation, and maybe score a few points off a lost battle. The name calling is pretty ugly, but oh well.

James Elliott said...

Oh, Jay, Jay, Jay... I read your little article. This was the saddest part:

"A skilled researcher might do well to check the Assembly archives to see if he actually laid the groundwork for the plan."

In other words, this artfully buried caveat says, "This is just my impression. It may not end up being actually, you know, true." Dovetails quite nicely with the "I never brought it up before because I don't want to offend people I no longer have any contact with (I paraphrase, of course)."

Sad.

James Elliott said...

In other words, JC, you don't think that the Senate needs to actually know anything about the way Alito thinks? He's a Republican, and because politics is politics, he'll be confirmed to a lifetime position without question because party loyalty trumps, Republican uber alles?

That's particularly craven and offensive to anyone who actually wants this republic to function. That attitude indicates that Republicans have denigrated politics to the worst, laziest, most undisciplined kind of relativistic thinking.

Why hold hearings at all? Why vote? Why not just allow the ruling party to unilaterally decide things. After all, they have a majority and in America, majority means there's no such thing as minority rights, minority input, or responsibility of office.

What, did you stop taking civics in the fifth grade?

JC said...

I'll ignore your insults and address the implied question.

Yes, of course we need hearings and we need to know if Alito is qualified. My point was that we already know he is qualified---he's got a paper trail longer than most Supreme Court justices. Even the ABA says he's "well qualified."
All the news reports I've read say that the Democrats don't have a chance of stopping his confirmation unless something really ugly magically appears.

I wasn't saying that Alito should hide his record. He couldn't even if he wanted to. I was saying that everyone has seen his (massive) record, and almost all of it says he's a qualified, albiet conservative, judge. The majority of Senators, having seen his record, are happy with him. The committee has investigated every objection. This is the end game. (Incidentally, Specter announced recently that the many CAP documents they looked at showed no mention of Alito, so he obviously wasn't very much involved in the organization.)

I was merely observing that Alito doesn't have to take any risks by opening cans of worms, so he probably won't.

Jay D. Homnick said...

James, I have contact with many of those people to this day, especially my father.

James Elliott said...

I'll ignore your insults and address the implied question.

Insult, singular. Unless challenging your opinion is an insult to you. But whatever floats your dinghy.

James, I have contact with many of those people to this day, especially my father.

Apologies, Jay. I didn't glean that out of the article, which is most likely my fault as the reader. That makes far more sense.

Tlaloc said...

"Yes, of course we need hearings and we need to know if Alito is qualified. My point was that we already know he is qualified---he's got a paper trail longer than most Supreme Court justices."

Qualified means more than just "he knows constitutional law." Certainly that should be a prerequisite but only one.

For instance a member of say the Klan should be automatically barred from a Supreme Court position. No matter how good he is at conlaw he is UNFIT for the position by virtue of his prejudices.

Alito is the same way. Smart? Sure. Knows the material? Sure. Can be trusted as a judge? Not in the slightest. The man shouldn't be a judge at all much less on the supreme court.

Tlaloc said...

I was highly impressed and for the Roberts nomination. He was not the judge I would pick but he seemed suitable to the post. He had no giant skeletons in the closet like Alito. This isn't about partisan politics, it is about putting absolutely the wrong person on the bench, just as the Miers debacle was.

KeithM, Indy said...

For instance a member of say the Klan should be automatically barred from a Supreme Court position. No matter how good he is at conlaw he is UNFIT for the position by virtue of his prejudices.

*******

So does the same standard hold for the Congress???


Anyone find it odd that the Congress needed to ask permission of someone to access records in the Library of Congress.

Matt Huisman said...

...and his written opinion on Casey, which has been widely lambasted in legal circles, all the way up to the Supreme Court, for assigning husbands and wives a legal role similar to that of parent and child respectively.

I'm going to nitpick here, James. I have never understood why Alito gets crap for this one. The law states that no one should be subject to an undue burden when being required to jump through various hoops prior to having an abortion, and should always retain control of the decision. In particular, the precedent said that it was not an undue burden for a minor to have to notify parents or a court.

Alito merely follows that same logic and says that the act of notification is not an undue burden because the mother retains control of the decision and has the ability to circumvent the notification process (by appeal to the court) if she feels she has to.

It turns out that O'Connor thought differently, and that she later felt that it was either too much of a burden on adults or that it didn't serve a legitimate state interest. But the fact that it takes a special mood ring to decode O'Connor's intentions in her opinions is not Alito's fault - and whether you agree with his decision or not, it's completely ridiculous to assert (as, surprise, Tlaloc has elsewhere) that this represents some form of sexism on his part.

On the legal issue with the most tortured reasoning in history, Alito was not in sync with the ramblings of a windsock on a law that was never meant to be enforced. Whoopee.

James Elliott said...

So does the same standard hold for the Congress???

Yes, we all know where you're going with this. "Robert Byrd was a Klansman fifty years ago! Blahdiblahblah."

However, the senator in question admitted, renounced, and apologized for his membership and attitudes in the Klan. Alito has done no such thing with CAP, and his reasoning behind it is just so much BS. Did you know that ROTC was removed from Princeton in 1970 and reinstated in June, 1972 - the same month Alito graduated and three months before CAP was FOUNDED? Further, CAP was founded and funded by Shelby Cullom Davis, an avowed bigot who publicly longed for the days when minorities and women were barred from Princeton's campus. If you hear the likes of Kathy shifting uncomfortably in her seat, it's because Davis also spent millions of dollars helping to found Heritage Foundation.

Alito is demonstrably full of monkey poo, whereas Byrd has done what Alito cannot: Acknowledged an error of his youth and apologized and dedicated his work as a public servant to atoning for his earlier views. Alito's record, on the other hand, demonstrates a more than passing sympathy for the mindset of CAP's founders.

tbmbuzz said...

Laying the ad homs on a bit thick, aren't you, buzz?

Now give us one, just ONE example of Alito's racism in his rulings and public life.

Public life? Well, that would put his membership in a group like CAP as fair game, wouldn't it? Kinda shot yourself in the foot there, buzz. I'm sure you didn't need those rhetorical toes anyways - your arguments always stand on their own two feet...



Probably too late on this thread for anyone to read further. You still don't get it, James (and Tlaloc and assorted Leftists). Your arguments against conservatives essentially all end up in smear attacks, and the Alito case is a perfect example. Your argument essentially goes: "[insert legalese intellectual gibberish here], Alito had a different legal theory and ruled differently, therefore he is a racist."

The country gets what you people on the Extreme Left are about; too bad you yourselves don't.

Tlaloc said...

"So does the same standard hold for the Congress???"

Actually no. Congress is the representational branch. As much as I despise the Klan if they can fairly get elected then so be it. The Judiciary however is a different matter. They are there to prevent exactly the kinds of abuses that the Klan perpetuates.

Tlaloc said...

"Your arguments against conservatives essentially all end up in smear attacks, and the Alito case is a perfect example. Your argument essentially goes: "[insert legalese intellectual gibberish here], Alito had a different legal theory and ruled differently, therefore he is a racist.""

Bull. The argument is:
Alito consistently rules for religious parties and against minorities, women, the aged, and the disabled. That's not a "different legal theory." That's bigotry. Plain and simple.