Friday, January 13, 2006

Alito's Problem

Via Political Animal, Michael O’Hare does a perfect job of articulating what’s wrong Alito:
Alito knows the law, but he doesn't seem to know, or care about, The Law. Every issue in the hearings was immediately reduced by the nominee to a technical question of almost bureaucratic rule manipulation. This approach is a good one for nearly all the cases courts hear, but it's not what the Supreme Court is about.

He doesn't have a screw loose; what he has is a piece missing, conspicuously, radiantly, displaying the absence of any sense of, well, justice. Not a case came up for discussion in which he registered that one or another outcome was just wrong, outrageous to a sense of decency, or to him.
Based on what I heard from the confirmation hearings, this is right on. Alito used this callous, albeit technically sound, approach to the law to defuse Democratic ire during questioning. While Roberts dodged touchy questions left and right, Alito took them head on and reduced them to piles of legal nuts and bolts. There was nothing left to yell about.

Alito’s judicial philosophy represents an extreme version of the Republicans’ favorite paradigm, “a judge’s job is to decide cases, period.” Alito seemingly takes this to mean that judges slough off any sense of morality when they don the black robe.