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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Judge Samuel Alito- Good For The SCOTUS?

The time has come to get serious regarding Bush's newest U.S Supreme Court nominee, Judge Samuel Alito. There's enough bickering going on in the blogosphere and in Liberal/Conservative political circles to scare an angry elephant (no GOP pun intended). Instead of relying on non-scientific polls and rhetoric from our leaders, let's look at Alito's case-ruling background to decide if he is a good candidate or not. Many Liberals oppose Alito on the basis that, because Bush nominated him, he will vote to overturn Roe Vs. Wade. Other Liberals oppose him simply for being a Conservative. Conservatives are skeptically supporting him because he's a Conservative. I even read a story where an Oklahoma Evangelical said she supports him simply because most Democrats do not. She said, "If the Democrats don't like him, he's got to be good." Let's put all of this aside for a bit and see what kind of Judge Alito actually is. We'll look at some of his rulings to get a feel for how the guy works.
Big, Bad Abortion
Planned Parenthood vs. Casey (1991)- Dissenting with his colleagues, Judge Alito ruled that a woman married to a non-abusive husband should have to notify her spouse of her plans for an abortion before undergoing the procedure. Good: 0 Bad: 1
Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey vs. Farmer (2000)- Concurring with Planned Parenthood, Judge Alito ruled that a law banning partial-birth abortions is unconstitutional. Good: 1 Bad: 1
Constitutional Issues
Sheridan vs. Dupont (1996)- Judge Alito dissented with his colleagues in this case, arguing that the plaintiff needed to provide a substantial quantity of hard evidence to prove she was the victim of sexual harassment. Good: 2 Bad: 1
Bray vs. Marriott Hotels (1997)- Judge Alito dissented with his colleagues in this case, saying to prove racial discrimination, a Marriott manager needed to prove that every case of the company promoting others in her place was racially motivated. Good: 2 Bad: 2
Saxe vs. State College Area School District (2001)- Concurred with a majority opinion that the school district's policy of prohibiting verbal harassment based on sexual orientation and other categories violates the First Amendment. Good: 2 Bad: 3
Shore Regional High School Board of Education vs. P.S. (2004)- Judge Alito ruled to reinstate a lower judge's ruling that the school district's failure to protect their child from bullies justified the parents' placing the child in a different school. Good: 3 Bad: 3
Conclusion- What Can We Take From All Of This?
I think this is enough case studies to show that Alito is neither an Ideologue nor a strict Constructionist. He seems, based on these cases at least, to be a Conservative-leaning Moderate. What that suggests is that he tries to balance the law with his personal ideas of right and wrong as well as social standards of morality. These cases also prove that we can't form an opinion of his rulings based only on any one case, something that many of both sides of the aisle are guilty of. He was given a fair confirmation hearing when President Bush (I) nominated him to the U.S Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It's true that those who once supported him may choose not to do so now that he has 15 years of rulings to judge him on. Just the same, his rulings and qualifications prove he isn't an Ideologue. Both sides of the aisle should give him a fair hearing. That's all there is to it.
PS- I've Added To My Blogroll
I've always had a tradition of blogrolling interesting sites that I come across in the political blogosphere. Keeping with that tradition, I've added four new sites to my Liberal and Other political sections. They are In The Middle Of America, Leftist Grandpa, Irregular Joe and All Facts And Opinions. I hope you'll check them out as they are really great sites.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Da Vinci Code: The Politics Of Faith

Well, it appears that my cold bug has evolved into or invited to visit me a strep throat bug. Thus, my two weeks of misery has been prolonged even further. Now I'm living on penicillin, orange sherbet, lime sherbet and chicken soup of various sorts. What a subtly miserable subsistence I am forced into these days! Anyhow, I began and finished Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" over the weekend while the cold was my greatest woe. It is a truly excellent book in expected and unexpected ways so I have decided to post a brief review of the book here on my political site. It isn't technically a political book but it merits a review on my site because it questions certain aspects of the religious faith that directly influences many prominent political views. Read the review and the book.
The Da Vinci Code: A Question Of Truth
In "The Da Vinci Code", Dan Brown tells a story of mysterious intrigue as long-held truths about the Bible and the ancients are called into question. Among the questions the plot brings into play, the most serious and disconcerting to the faithful are those about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Was Mary Magdalene one of Jesus' Disciples? Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? Did they produce a child before Jesus' mortal death? Were the other Disciples jealous of the attention Jesus gave to Mary Magdalene? Did the Catholic Church ultimately hide the true story of Jesus? Most important of all, has the Church downplayed the importance of woman in religion by emphasizing the dominance of man? Seeking the answers is the quest of "The Da Vinci Code."
The Da Vinci Code: Truth Or Fiction?
Starting in Paris and winding to a climax in Scotland via adventures spanning millennia, this novel is an easy read and an interesting one. The historical facts are accurate to a large extent though it would be very tedious to verify all of them. A large part of the argument the novel makes is that many ancient truths have been downplayed throughout history by the Church and seemingly disproven by the destruction of evidence, also carried out by the Church and those in its employ. Many of the "trust me" points made in the Bible are placed under the magnifying lens in this novel, which explains why many theologians and Christian leaders dismiss the book as blasphemy. This suggests that at least some of the questions brought to light by the novel may have some basis in fact. In the end, the reader must form their own opinion by doing their own homework.
Conclusion: A Worthy Read?
In short, "The Da Vinci Code" is the latest tale in the ongoing Quest for the Holy Grail. The Grail itself, according to the novel, is not what most believe it to be. As the book draws the reader back in time, he/she will see that as the Bible itself says, we will never know the entire truth. It offers theories as to how the Church has gone to great efforts to replace inconvenient facts with mortal-invented "truths". Anyone who seeks to know how and if, in fact, their faith has been butchered and used against them would do well to read this book. Mystery lovers and other fiction fans will also do well to read this book. Take an open mind, an understanding that "The Da Vinci Code" is a mixture of fact with fiction and you will enjoy this book. What you take from it is up to you. Happy Reading!
Another Good Read
In my carousing of blogs and other political sites, I came across a really good post that explains why we are at war in words far better than any I could choose. I highly recommend it to both advocates and opponents of the War on Terror. You can find it at The Daily Blogster. CHEERS!

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Last Modified On January 31, 2006