the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

November 15, 2005

Scalito Watch


To follow up on our most excellent speaker night with Lisa Maatz, I’d like to point out this Washington Post article. This quote from his application to Ed Meese particularly struck me:

“I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values,” he wrote. “In the field of law, I disagree strenuously with the usurpation by the judiciary of decision-making authority that should be exercised by the branches of government responsible to the electorate.”

However, the part about “the supremacy of the elected branches” contrasts from his dissent in a case designed to protect against used car fraud: (from the WaPo article)

“It is the states, and not the federal government, that are charged with protecting the health, safety and welfare of their citizens,” Alito wrote.

Is Alito saying that he recognizes the authority of the President, and of state legislatures, but not the US Congress? If so, this falls well outside the mainstream of jurisprudence. I don’t see this so much as a “let’s keep conservative idealogues off the Supreme Court” kind of issue, as one of keeping the Court idealogue-free period.

I know that the conventional wisdom is that alas, we lost the last presidential election, and of course Bush is going to pick a conservative. (I don’t tend to agree with this view, by the way, and believe it encourages an unhealthy passivity) Here, I’d like to raise this as a question: Would Alito act to invalidate laws protecting consumers, the environment, and privacy rights because of his views towards Federalism?

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