COLUMN: Samuel Alito not so neato

Jen Steer

From the time that Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement to William Rehnquist’s death to the nominations of John Roberts and Harriet Miers, my sentiments have been the same – we’re screwed. We’re all screwed.

It actually got to the point that I left a five-minute voicemail on one of my friend’s phones at 2 a.m. just repeating “we’re screwed” until I was cut off by the beep.

Now, with the nomination of Samuel Alito, my opinion is still the same, but this time around, there is just a little bit more at stake. Roberts is still viewed as a moderate conservative, with many Republicans doubting his commitment to the party, but now we are replacing the critical swing vote position.

In the midst of this current nomination, I have to think back to how I felt after the nomination of Harriet Miers. I considered that either Bush was a complete idiot or a genius. By nominating Alito, Bush has rallied Republican support at a time when his overall approval rating is at an all – time low.

As conservatives cheer the nomination of Alito, liberals are in desperate hopes of figuring out what they know and we don’t. Alito’s long record of over 300 cases could give us some insight into the mind of this potential Supreme Court Justice. However, just in reviewing some summaries of cases, I’m confused.

The Los Angeles Times said on Monday that Alito tried to argue that women should have to notify their spouses when trying to have an abortion in Pennsylvania based on O’Connor’s rulings in the Supreme Court. The funny thing is that this case was taken to the high court where O’Connor struck it down. So Alito doesn’t like abortions and doesn’t understand that O’Connor ruled in favor of their legality.

In another case while on the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Alito attempted to overturn a ruling against a man who was caught owning a machine gun. Possessing a machine gun is illegal, but this didn’t seem to stop Alito. In both of these cases Alito was the minority with the other two judges in opposition of his opinions.

Thoughts of the filibuster have been circulating with no solid proof on whether or not it will be used, according to The Washington Post on Monday. Dems are playing it smart by holding out on announcing if it will be used. The tricky thing about the filibuster is that it doesn’t have to be used to stir up the pot. Just threatening with the age – old technique can shut down the Senate, but we’ll see how Democrats chose to apply it.

The dreaded nuclear option has even been discussed, which could strip Democrats of the only real power we have left in Congress, let alone the Senate. The nuclear option would change the rules and take away the filibuster. Let’s keep in mind that the Framers came up with the filibuster and you’re not American if you don’t like the Framers, right? Has Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson ever been mean to you? I didn’t think so.

My conclusions on Alito are as simple as this: Alito is pro-life and pro-machine gun. It is too early to tell if the Democrats will use the filibuster and what kind of Senate shenanigans the Jan. 9 Judiciary hearing will involve.

Jen Steer is a sophomore broadcast news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].