Just Like O'Connor

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What a surprise. USA Today has provided us with yet another anti-Alito editorial:

When Samuel Alito was a Justice Department lawyer in the 1980s, he wrote that he saw no legal problem with a police officer shooting and killing an unarmed 15-year-old who was fleeing from a $10 burglary.

Alito, now nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, said the shooting "can be justified as reasonable" and advised his bosses that the courts shouldn't interfere with police discretion to use deadly force. But the Supreme Court thought otherwise - by a 6-3 vote. Justice Byron White noted that the Constitution bars "unreasonable" searches and seizures, adding acidly that "a police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead."
Oh what a problem this Alito character has become for liberals. They of course -- having demanded repeatedly -- want President Bush to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with another moderate justice like Sandra Day O'Connor.

Yet in the above mentioned case decided by a 6-3 vote, the author of the dissenting opinion in which Burger and Rehnquist joined was written by darling Sandra Day O’Connor!

The editorial concludes:
Alito's record suggests little deference to those most basic American values. This merits aggressive questioning before the Senate puts him on the nation's highest court, where he would have the power to strip away rights Americans assume to be theirs.
Therein lies a critical flaw of the author's point. A "right" isn't so just because Americans "assume" it's theirs to enjoy. It's a "right" if it passes constitutional muster. Whether Alito will be supportive of these "assumed rights" is yet to be determined, as well the validity of the author's opinion that such rights fall under the category of "most basic American values."