Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.

11/10/2005

Can the Senate trust Alito?

This seems like a big deal:
Here's a question for Senators: If a nominee for Supreme Court already has a history of telling the US Senate one thing to get confirmed, then doing the exact opposite, when can you trust him?
When Alito became a federal appeals court judge in 1990, he promised to recuse himself from cases involving Vanguard mutual funds, because he had personal investments through the company. Yet he participated in a case decided in 2002 involving Vanguard.
...This was not a small matter. What's worse, it looks like a pattern. Today, the Boston Globe, which has done great work investigating these discrepancies, reports on another situation where Alito said one thing to the Senate and did another:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who said in 1990 that he would disqualify himself from cases involving his sister's law firm, was a member of an appeals court that reviewed a 1995 case in which his sister's firm represented one of the parties, according to court records.

It is at least the third instance in which there is no indication the Supreme Court nominee recused himself from the kind of case he had promised a Senate committee he would avoid as a federal judge.
This is a very troubling pattern. It begs the question of how much Senators can trust what Alito tells them. Does Alito think that what he says to get confirmed doesn't matter once he's on the bench?

According to Reuters, Alito is spending a lot of time on the Hill telling Senators about "his respect for precedent" which is taken to mean he won't rush to overturn established cases like Roe v. Wade. Can those words be trusted? It is a big risk to confirm a justice who already has a history of not following through on promises made to the Senate.
Blogs for Bush, surprisingly, doesn't see the problem:
Despite Democrats claims, nothing inappropriate occurred... Arlen Specter has released two letters from independent legal experts who found that Alito broke no laws by not recusing himself from the Vangaurd case. Geoffrey Hazard. Jr., Trustee Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, explained that "Judge Alito had no conflict of interest and should not have recused himself." George Mason University Foundation Professor Of Law, Ronald Rotunda, wrote to Specter that he had "evaluated the situation and conclude, for the reasons discussed below, that neither federal statutes, nor federal rules, nor the Model Code of Judicial Conduct of the American Bar Association provide that a judge should disqualify himself in any case involving a mutual fund company (e.g., Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price) simply because the judge owns mutual funds that the company manages and holds in trust for the judge."

Looks like the Democrats are barking up the wrong tree... Again...
The point isn't that Alito broke the law in failing to recuse himself, or even that he should have recused himself and didn't. The point is that he said he would recuse himself, and then didn't. Which means that Alito is perfectly willing to lie to the Senate. Which means that anything he says in his confirmation hearings cannot be trusted. Which means his promises to "respect precedent" and to go to the Court without an "agenda" don't mean shit.

Lately, some prominent Democrats have been going on the record as regretting the fact that they trusted Bush on the Iraq war. Fine. Now show us that you've put such naivete behind you, and don't put your trust in the assurances of someone who is no more trustworthy than the president.

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Sanity is not statistical.