Patterico's Pontifications


Another Fair Article on Alito in the Los Angeles Times — What’s Going On???

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 6:40 am

Once again, we bloggers have gotten all geared up for nothing.

I really thought Judge Alito was going to get slammed hard by the left, including the Los Angeles Times. After all the distortions we have seen by the left regarding current Justices like Scalia and Thomas, and other judicial candidates like Priscilla Owen and Miguel Estrada, I really thought an Alito confirmation would be an uphill battle.

But I’m starting to think we have the same situation we had with Justice Roberts: a lot of talk, plenty of cynical distortion of his record — but in the end, no real opposition to speak of.

This conclusion seems to be cemented by this morning’s fair L.A. Times article on Alito, titled Alito’s Record Defies Labels. It is not the first fair article the paper has run on Alito. Today’s article is further evidence that the left lacks any principled basis for opposing Alito. It begins:

For the second time in three tries, President Bush has found a Supreme Court nominee who does not present an easy target for Senate Democrats.

Although liberal activists are portraying Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. as a right-wing extremist, his 15 years’ worth of legal opinions do not promise fealty to any ideology. Though many of his rulings favor business or prosecutors, they are often narrow — and a sizable number cut the other way.

Accordingly, Democrats in the Senate are cautious, and there is little or no talk of a filibuster.

The article even gives balanced explanations of three of Judge Alito’s most criticized decisions: the Casey dissent, the machine gun case, and the case of the strip-searched 10-year-old.

In the discussion of spousal notification, I’d have preferred to see a more explicit reference to the applicable exceptions — but the article does say that the law only “generally” required notification, which gives readers some notice that there must have been exceptions.

The machine gun case is fairly explained as an application of Lopez, a Supreme Court decision that (the article notes) was joined by Justice O’Connor. And the strip-search case is properly described as a dispute over the scope of a search warrant.

I think the L.A. Times is trying to put me out of business. There’s really no major distortion in the article to criticize.

Either the L.A. Times has suddenly gotten fair, or the left has decided that Judge Alito’s nomination really can’t be beat, or both. Either way, there’s I think Judge Alito’s nomination is looking pretty good right about now.

Here we bloggers were all suited up, ready to enter the game and do battle — but instead, we’re pretty much just standing on the sidelines, looking at each other and shrugging our shoulders. The game, it appears, will easily be won without us.

At least that’s how it looks now.

26 Responses to “Another Fair Article on Alito in the Los Angeles Times — What’s Going On???”

  1. Frankly, from what I have been able to gather, there is little support behind the radical abortionists that tend to drive these debates. The entire political divide in the country has shifted on the issue of abortion towards more restriction.

    Even Roe is not they do or die issue anymore. Maybe, just maybe, enough people have seen too much destruction at the hands of people that can only be described properly as unbelievably selfish, immature, and self-absorbed. There is no principled arguments being tendered to support the pro-abortion side of the argument, just gloss for wants.

    Paul Deignan (47d1f5)

  2. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

    To continue the football analogy, this is the fourth quarter, and we’re up by 4 TDs. The third string is out on the field getting playing experience now.

    Bloggers (and quasi-bloggers like David Frum) did a lot of the media heavy-lifting surrounding the Miers nomination, and that’s what brought us to this point, with the easy confirmation of a conservative jurist nicknamed Scalito.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  3. Alito, like Roberts, garners respect because of his excellent qualifications.

    I can only speak for myself, but if we already know the most negative rulings of Alito and there are no other harmful revelations about him, I hope that democrats let him sail through without a fight. Sure, there will be at least a handful of senators who oppose him, but I tentatively hope that there isn’t a big to-do about his nomination.

    My position is primarily motivated by being tired of republicans pointing out the most extreme liberal positions and beating democrats over the head with them. That strategy is about as fair as claiming that all republicans are in the KKK – but the underhanded rhetoric works on the public nevertheless. (And I admit that both the left and right use that vile tactic.) But to the extent that democrats accept Alito, the right can’t unfairly paint us as an extremely liberal party.

    So I hope there will be no WAR and it appears that you can at least sheath your sword for now.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  4. The more the D’s demonize Alito, the more their moonbats demand a fb. The moonbat logic is correct on that pt; it’s the demonized premise that’s faulty.

    Regardless, calls for a (doomed) fb put the D’s in an awful bind, cuz it splits their party. They have apparently decided not to fb – a no-brainer strategic decision under the circumstances, Alito’s solid – and now have to undemonize the nominee or face a major split in their ranks.

    Early demonization attempts are best regarded as a trial balloon that failed.

    ras (f9de13)

  5. Don’t fear for your job as a blogger. The Times will revert to its true colors.

    I think what is afoot here, is Senate Democrats fear more than anything a successful implementation of the nuclear option. If it is invoked, Pres. Bush will not be constrained to centrist/conservative on future SCOTUS nominees. I think the press knows this.

    It’s amazing to see the LA Times, NY Times and the WaPo in lockstep on Alito.

    Corky Boyd (a8cc75)

  6. Tangetial to the point: Could the unholy leftist West Coast newspaper alliance be in retreat? For the first time in months I read the SF Chronicle’s letters to the editor and there was a letter published from the right that actually made sense. The Cronk’s MO is to ignore the most idiotic letters from the left and print letters from the right only if they look like Cindy Sheehan might have penned them (a C. Sheehan with opposite politics of course). The Cronk’s letters to the editors were clearly designed to simply reinfore lefties world view and provide cover for ignoring any ideas from the right.

    And then in the same paper I see that they are endorsing two of Ahnald’s propositions! And one of the propositions, hold onto your seats, puts the Cronk opposite the teacher’s union (the other is the anti-geerymandering proposition which is more of a bi-partisan issue)! I may even toss two bits the Cronk’s way in a few months to see if the ‘snapshot’ is truly reflective of some sort of attempt at ‘center lefting’ the paper a bit. But I wonder if they can really pull this off – can they move close enough to the center to re-capture the readers that can’t stomach their current point of view without alienating their moonbat base? Will righties even give them a try again?

    Sweetie (f6fb72)

  7. Nobody is getting too upset about Alito; this is largely becuase he’s no right-wing nutcase.

    I suspect he’s got nothing but contempt for the far right. He won’t overturn Roe, which is all this whole business is all about.

    Forget judicial experience or knowledge of consitutional law or any other figleafs the right has been putting out.

    The nutters on the right want Roe overruled. Period. That’s what they want, but they’re not going to get it.

    Not with Alito.

    Carl W. Goss (447ec2)

  8. Here’s the real question:

    What happens if Alito and/or Roberts vote to uphold Roe, Lawrence, et al? Will conservative activists and bloggers praise their judicial restraint and respect for precedent, or label them Souters?

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  9. The Chronicle was, at least, a pretty decent paper apart from the editorial sections.

    The LA Times doesn’t even have well-written news stories.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  10. […] Patterico: “I think the L.A. Times is trying to put me out of business. There’s really no major distortion in the article to criticize.” […]

    PrestoPundit » Blog Archive » Patterico dismayed by stunning LA Times about face (d881ce)

  11. Washington Post has a fair editorial today, also. A small excerpt: “But Judge Alito’s record on abortion is more complicated than the caricatures would suggest. His opinions imply a discomfort with legal abortion and suggest that he may be more willing than Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to uphold restrictions on abortion. But his writings also reflect an effort to diligently apply Supreme Court precedent in a changing and controversial area of law.”

    This isn’t surprising — the editorial page of the Post usually plays it straight. But it is a heavyweight among MSM outlets, and it’s going to be very difficult to portray Alito as outside the mainstream if the Post continues to insist that he’s just a careful judge following the law.

    TNugent (58efde)

  12. Patterico, don’t complain about success. Just think of it as a job well done by the conservative blogosphere. Sure, bringing about the utter destruction of the MSM would have been fun, but turning MSM outlets back toward the light is a whole lot more useful.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  13. What happens if Alito and/or Roberts vote to uphold Roe, Lawrence, et al? Will conservative activists and bloggers praise their judicial restraint and respect for precedent, or label them Souters?

    The response to this may be worth its own post. In short, I will be tremendously *disappointed* if that happens, but that doesn’t mean I will be *criticizing* these Justices. As to *that* question, I can’t speak for other conservatives, but my answer will depend upon what the opinion says. I am partly of a mind that we lost this battle in 1992, or more specifically in 1987, and we may never win it back — at least the way we’d like to. I partially anticipated unfavborable rulings on one or more of the abortion cases this term in my post over the weekend about incrementally hollowing out Roe. I plan to address the abortion cases coming before the Court this term in an upcoming post.

    If Alito and/or Roberts join an opinion like Souter joined in Casey, full of rhetoric about preserving the Court’s integrity when it steps in to resolve a bitterly divisive issue, I am likely to be quite critical of them. But I find that extremely unlikely. Much more likely is that they refuse to overrule Roe, but cut back on some of the high-flown rhetoric of Roe and Casey, and chip away at its holdings, while leaving open the possibility of an overruling in the future based upon changed circumstances.

    Patterico (2f35da)

  14. I think you aren’t hearing much, because the hearing for him to be confirmed won’t happen any time soon. What’s the point of raising a fuss now, when the hearings are in 2 months?

    Assuming of course the Democrats don’t push back the hearings again, which I suspect might be their real tactic…

    JeremyR (c9b193)

  15. The big potential pitfall I see of the incrementalist theory/approach is that the longer abortion is deemed a right, the more difficult it becomes to strip it of that status.

    Rehnquist’s Miranda decision comes to mind.

    If we’re sitting here 50 years after Roe, then the “reality on the ground,” i.e. that every woman of childbearing age was born after Roe, becomes quite forboding.

    This may serve as a cautionary tale on the finding/discovery/creation of rights by the judiciary, but one can’t unring the bell.

    Geek, Esq. (5dd2be)

  16. […] Patterico notes yet another fair article from the LA Times on Alito, and he observes: Here we bloggers were all suited up, ready to enter the game and do battle — but instead, we’re pretty much just standing on the sidelines, looking at each other and shrugging our shoulders. The game, it appears, will easily be won without us. Fine by me. […]

    Confirm Them » The fight that never was (5c7b11)

  17. Re: #3, “…it appears that you can at least sheath your sword for now.”

    Permit me to doubt.

    Tillman, you ostensibly call for a cease fire yet you use the opportunity to cast stones. In one sentence, you say republicans point out “…the most extreme liberal positions” and use them to beat “…democrats over the head with them.” And, in the next sentence you say such efforts are “…about as fair as claiming that all republicans are in the KKK …”

    Well, Tillman, that’s not especially persuasive. Sort of like neglecting to mention the outrageously unfair Dem tactic of calling GWB ugly names, or using racist attacks on Justice Thomas, Secretary Rice, and Lt. Governor Steel, and neglecting to mention it’s Dems who are in bed with the Kluckers. Check with KKK Kreagle, Robert Byrd, Democrat Senator from West Virginia.

    If you want to call for calm, you can start with a little honesty and call for an end to Dem racism.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  18. Even a paramecium can learn from repeated electric shocks.

    lincoln (df24c9)

  19. Black Jack, as usual you’re being way too partisan and defensive.

    First, I was pointing out that Patterico could probably sheath his sword regarding Alito’s nomination in particular. I made no such outlandish statement that the deep divisions between left and right are absolved, so he could let down his guard in general. Your weak attempt to put words in my mouth is insulting.

    Second, I said that the KKK statement would be unfair; but you’re going off about it anyway? You’re just being over-the-top unreasonable.

    Third, I can’t imagine how an argument between you and me about racism would be productive. Not all republicans are racist and not all democrats are racist – so what would be the point? If you have to go nuclear just because I used the words “KKK” and “republicans” in the same sentence, then that’s your problem – not mine.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  20. Monday Night Round-Up

    RaiNews 24’s lies about “white phosphorous flares” used by US Army at Fallujah were peddled to everyone (AdnKronos, AGI, Corriere della Sera, L’Unità, Repubblica) and they are the opening title at Google News. But this “terrible chemical weapon”…

    The Right Nation (59ce3a)

  21. Here’s the real question:

    What happens if Alito and/or Roberts vote to uphold Roe, Lawrence, et al? Will conservative activists and bloggers praise their judicial restraint and respect for precedent, or label them Souters?

    This is why there’s no fight. Because everyone knows that Roe/Grutter/Bakke/Atkins/Roper/all the other liberal precedents are safe,

    Why do you think the left cares so much about stare decisis? because they’re now fighting a holding action. the plan is to allow people like Alito and Roberts who won’t mess with the status quo and then get a Dem elected president and appoint people who will further the status quo.

    The right got suckered once again.

    jim (a9eb8b)

  22. There are right-wing religious conservatives for whom abortion is the central issue besides which everything else pales into insignificance. Just as there are left-wing secular liberals for whom abortion is the central issue besides which everything else pales into insignificance. Both of these groups measure Supreme Court nominees almost entirely on the basis of whether their votes will maintain or overturn Roe v Wade.

    However, I think there is a larger group of Republicans/conservatives/libertarians for whom faithfulness to the original intent of the Constitution and its limits on government authority is the central issue. This group wants a Supreme Court which will not act as an unaccountable super legislature and impose its policy preferences on the nation, but rather as a neutral arbiter of the Constitution and the law.

    This latter group wants brilliant, knowledgeable, experienced Justices on the Supreme Court, regardless of any specific decisions they may make regarding abortion. As long as the USSC follows the Constitution instead of making things up, it will get things right most of the time. And that would represent a huge improvement over the recent history of the Supreme Court.

    That’s why the Harriet Meirs nomination had people threatening to jump off ledges. The cronyism of her selection, and her inexperience and stealth judicial philosophy and questionable competence as an appointment to the highest court in the land, and the availability of so many far superior candidatees, made her a terrible choice, irrespective of her views on abortion or any other policy matter. Coming on the heels of the excellent nomination of John Roberts, Meirs constituted a horrible disappointment and let-down.

    Samuel Alito, like Roberts, has all the qualifications and qualities to be a superb Supreme Court Justice. That’s all I want, and I think that’s all that most people want, exclusive of the two groups who are fixated on abortion. And that’s why the attacks on Alito aren’t getting any traction.

    If President Bush will stay on track and just keeping “packing” the Supreme Court with superior nominees like Roberts and Alito, the far-left special interest groups and the Democrats in the Senate who are closely entwined with them will continue to find themselves impotent to block confirmations.

    Daniel Wiener (bf4e7d)

  23. Get one thing straight my fellow citizens. I dont approve of abortion on demand but Rove v Wade is not going to be overturned because its a wedge issue that radicals like Bush and crew use to garner votes. They need this kind of issue to keep the suckers coming back to vote them into power and so for that reason they will pretend to be against abortion but overturning Rove vs Wade will deprive them of the morals issue they love to bs you with.Once they get the votes they toss you aside like yesterdays newspaper. What ever happened to the balanced budget amendment or term limits? Guarantee you ten years from now you will be asking the same question about the abortion issue…as you will still believe the end of the war in Iraq is in sight!!

    Charlie (8ea405)

  24. of and i forgot to mention the Defense of Marriage act..another thing you were promised but somehow these forgetful elephants forgot!!! ( actually they figured it would apply to divorce and adultery and so deep sixed it!!! Newt are you reading this? Bob Dole? Rudi? Mr Hyde? Others?

    Charlie (8ea405)

  25. Tillman,

    No insult intended. Your comments in #3 above, about sheathing the sword, came after a paragraph where you identified both republicans and democrats in the plural, mentioned the left and the right in the aggregate, and ended with reference to “…us as a liberal party.”

    So, you might see how I took your meaning to be general in nature. At most it’s only a misunderstanding. I didn’t put words in your mouth and you haven’t been insulted.

    But, how about my suggestion that you address the racism Dems have used to smear Justice Thomas, Secretary Rice, and Lt Governor Steel. I don’t want to argue about it with you. But you brought up the KKK and republicans. That’s how the issue came up. It’s objectionable and I want it to stop. Racism has no place in the public political debate.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  26. Charlie, that’s just BS. Roe, and specifically the pro-choice lobby’s misrepresentation of the importance of Roe to abortion rights, is much more of a wedge/fundraising issue for the Dems than for the Republicans. The whole point of NARAL/PFAW/DNC’s disinformation campaign on every Republican judicial nomination is to raise money and get out the vote among the clueless, blinkered majority of the pro-choice movement. On the other hand, Roe’s opponents have no incentive to mislead anyone about the effect of overturning Roe — an public correctly informed about the minimal effect this would actually have on abortion policy (probably in terms of number of abortions, but perhaps not in terms of when during pregnancy abortions could be performed) is exactly what Roe opponents want, but it’s exactly what proponents of keeping Roe want to avoid. Have you never noticed that polls which indicate a majority of Americans favor keeping Roe invariably also indicate that a similar majority favors restrictions on abortion rights that are inconsistent with Roe and the rest of the Court’s abortion cases?

    TNugent (6128b4)

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