Patterico's Pontifications


The Alito Project

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:17 am

Here is PFAW’s report on Judge Alito’s judicial decisions. I assume these people have identified the decisions that liberals consider the most allegedly troubling of his 300+ opinions.

Though this might be kind of ambitious, I’d like to try to tackle about one of these a day, starting with the most controversial. So far, I have written about two of them: the Casey dissent on spousal notification for abortion, and the Doe v. Groody case on the strip-search of the ten-year-old girl (actually a technical case about the scope of a search warrant).

Even before Judge Alito was nominated, I focused on the Casey dissent as the likely Ground Zero for any debate about his nomination. I chose to follow up with the strip-search case because the lefties’ description of it was so lurid that it actually sounded like they were kidding. It made me curious.

I am soliciting suggestions for what cases to tackle next. Even if these cases have been discussed elsewhere in the blogosphere, I am hoping you will be interested in my take on them. For one thing, I guarantee you a careful reading of each case I discuss. For another, I guarantee you that I will tell you what I actually think, even if it may tend to harm the Alito nomination. I think I have proven that with my discussion of Doe v. Groody, in which I expressed some disagreement with one aspect of Judge Alito’s decision. You have my pledge that I consider my reputation for personal integrity to be paramount, and thus far more important than any contribution I might make to the success of a Supreme Court nomination.

Bottom line: I’ll give you the straight scoop as I see it.

So what cases do you want me to analyze? I plan to tackle the Family and Medical Leave Act case tonight.

19 Responses to “The Alito Project”

  1. I dunno if you read Althouse at all Patterico but she’s done FMLA pretty thoroughly in 2 posts:

    Alito and the Family Medical Leave Act.


    Alito and the Family Medical Leave Act — Part 2.

    I admit that being a non-lawyer its almost impenetrable to me. Maybe you could put it in layman’s english for us. =p

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  2. Where does Alito stand on unrestricted free speach for Internet Bloggers?

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  3. Machine gun case.

    Al (00c56b)

  4. I think it would be a good idea to read what the opposition is focusing on and head them off at the pass.

    Here is a post that has summaries of several cases.

    The PFAW is obviously opposed to Alito and has some briefings on their site.

    I think that the section in PFAW’s full report titled “Religious Coercion and Liberty” is very interesting because so many of us will LOVE the opinions that Alito expresses in these cases.

    All that said, I think that it would be helpful to have an analysis of the cases Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003 and Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004 which the left is billing as proof that Alito is hostile to immigrants. This is especially absurd because Alito is the son of immigrants.

    Thanks for all you are doing!

    Clay (0eeffc)

  5. The Machine Gun Case, particularly on whether he would presume laws passed by a democratically-elected legislature to be constitutional or unconstitutional.

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  6. I would like to see an analysis of Barnhart v. Thomas which was unanimously reversed by the Supreme Court.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  7. I would like to see an analysis of Barnhart v. Thomas which was unanimously reversed by the Supreme Court.

    I would just read Scalia’s opinion on the matter. He took the 3d Circuit to grammar school.

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  8. I am also interested in the machine gun case. I look forward to your discussion of this and other cases that will come up in the confirmation battle.

    Stu707 (7c4f65)

  9. I hear Howard Dean is accusing Alito of deliberately selecting all-white juries to convict balck defendants (yeah, yeah, sign of desperation, but there it is)

    I can only presume HD is referring to something from Alito’s days as a prosecutor, perhaps a juror challenge?

    Anyway, since it doesn’t look like there are any smoking guns in Alito’s judicial opinions, we’re down to character assassination based on his pre-hudge career. Huzzaba a post or two on his performance there, given that that’s apparently where the next Bag O’ Slime is coming from?

    ras (f9de13)

  10. Here’s one of Judge Alito’s criminal law/procedure opinions, in which he reversed a district court’s denial of a habeas corpus petition (post-conviction, petitioner discovered evidence of a juror’s possible racial bias). See Williams v. Price, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003). Not the work of a right-wing ideological hack, if you ask me; since you know something about criminal law and procedure, I’d like your analysis of this case.

    Since Judge Alito’s nomination, the only mention I’ve seen of this case was in a TNR Online piece by Akiba Covitz, a law prof at Richmond (Ann Althouse did a short post on this). Notably, Adam Liptak’s piece in today’s NYT — citing Cass Sunstein’s “survey” — focused only on Alito’s dissents. Nothing about Williams v. Price; perhaps, as a non-ideological and thorough review of the underlying record and applicable case law, it would tend to disprove the meme-du-jour…

    Gary (39ae96)

  11. The machine gun case, from the little I know about it, may say more about Judge Alito’s views on the limits of the commerce clause than the Second Amendment. In either case, though, it would be valuable.

    Ken (e42325)

  12. Please write about Judge Alito’s majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001), which dealt with the tension between the First Amendment and discrimination law.

    Tim K

    Tim Korb (7e41e8)

  13. The machine gun case (Rybar) is one of the ones the media has been buggering up pretty badly. As Ken rightly noted above, it tells us more about Alito’s views on the Commerce Clause than on the Second Amendment (though Matt Rustler suggests that by not mentioning the Second Amendment, Judge Alito may have been telling us something after all). Yet, I’m not even sure how much it tells us about Alito’s views on the Commerce Clause. Maybe he dissented because he personally believed Congress had overstepped its commerce power, but then again, maybe he just ruled that way because he thought the new Lopez precedent compelled it. Note that the Ninth Circuit reached the same result in U.S.A. v. Stewart, in 2003 – a decision penned, perhaps not coincidentally, by the strongly pro-Second Amendment Alex Kozinski.

    Xrlq (6c76c4)

  14. I think it’s clear that in United States v. Rybar, Alito was just following Lopez. His first two lines of the opinion are “Was United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 131 L. Ed. 2d 626, 115 S. Ct. 1624 (1995), a constitutional freak? Or did it signify that the Commerce Clause still imposes some meaningful limits on congressional power?”

    jinnmabe (0af329)

  15. I blogged on Bray v Marriott here.

    Milhouse (3f7ff6)

  16. If Alito might trigger “extraordinary” circumstances… how can it be too soon to tell?

    How long does it take to recognize the extra-ordinary?

    Is that not part of the coolness of being so far from the norm, that it really “stands out”, you know, literally?

    wizard61 (f55327)

  17. I’ve just taken a somewhat close look at two of Judge Alito’s decisions on race, and the bizarre criticisms of them by PFAW and others, here:

    Alito: Beyer Beware:

    Braying At Alito:

    John Rosenberg (d8b5cf)

  18. Weekend Round-Up

    – Ann Coulter, on RealClear Politics (via Nickie Goomba), explains why last week cooled off, again, the hopes of the anti-Bush front. – Michael Moore, enemy of the big corporations, is not shy to hold thousands of shares by Wall Street’s sharks. Not …

    The Right Nation (59ce3a)

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