Alpine Summit

Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito: Day 1

The hearings on future justice Alito begin today. The WaPo has an article on the possible lines of attack the democrats will try to angle. It features a few things, and you can read it if you're interested. It will mostly involve an opinon he wrote in the 80's that said there is no constitutional right to an abortion. I tend to agree with that, but that isn't what I found the most interesting from this article. My favorite part was at the very end of the article where they say this:

Commerce and gun control. Alito wrote in a 1996 dissent that Congress did not have the power under the Constitution's commerce clause to pass a law banning possession of machine guns, arguing that there was no evidence the mere possession of such weapons affected interstate commerce.

"He was one of the very few [appellate court judges] to say that the federal government can't regulate machine guns," Schumer said yesterday. The federal government "has regulated machine guns since the days of John Dillinger in 1936."

I found this absolutely amazing that Schumer would use this as an argument against Alito's legal ability. To say the government has been "doing something for a long time" is not an argument for why Alito is wrong (nor that he's in a minority in his views). Remember: slavery was legal for almost a century before it was abolished--segregation almost as long after that. Alito's opinions and decisions are based on the letter of the law, and that's what Democrats are really worried about.