Judge Alito has shown an alarming deference to the power of the executive branch. Throughout his career, Judge Alito has promoted an expansive view of executive authority and a limited view of the judicial role in curbing abuses of that authority. Two years ago, Justice O'Connor, whom he would replace, eloquently expressed what is at stake in these critical times when she wrote: “A state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.” This is extremely important given the various issues the Supreme Court will likely consider: the Patriot Act, the warrantless surveillance of Americans by the NSA and others.
Judge Alito has repeatedly advocated against our fundamental civil rights and civil liberties. Judge Alito’s judicial philosophy in the areas of race, religion, and reproductive rights raise serious questions as his commitment to preserving our fundamental Constitutional freedoms. He expressed particular pride in the role he had played in the Solicitor General’s Office in helping to craft Supreme Court briefs arguing “that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion,” noting that “these were positions "in which I personally believe very strongly.” By and large, Alito’s legal opinions make it more difficult for plaintiffs alleging discrimination to prevail, easier for the government to lend its support to religion and harder to challenge questionable tactics by the police and prosecution.
Judge Alito has taken a narrow view on Congressional power. In at least two cases, Judge Alito’s judicial philosophy shows that he does not view the legislative branch as co-equal. First, Alito held that Congress had exceeded its power under the Fourteenth Amendment by requiring the states to provide time off for sick employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Several years later, the Supreme Court rejected a similar claim in upholding a parallel provision of the FMLA. Second, Alito argued in dissent that Congress had exceeded its power under the Commerce Clause by making it a federal crime to possess a machine gun. This narrow view of the Commerce Clause could have implications in future civil rights and civil liberties cases.
Call Feingold and Kohl and tell them to Stop Alito! The voices of Wisconsin citizens can make a huge difference.