Alito and Strip Searching of 10-Year-Old Girls

Monday, October 31, 2005

The attacks are already pouring in, and as expected liberals are resorting to shameful distortion to smear the record of (oh it feels good to write the following) Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Some such as Daily Kos, are downright lying.

One of the claims is that Alito supports the strip-searching of 10-year-old girls. I guess that would make him a monster...unless you actually read Alito's decision before rendering a character judgment.

The case was Doe v. Groody, and Alito along with two other judges were to determine if a mother and her 10-year-old daughter had their rights violated when they were searched by police who had executed a warrant for the man of the house on a suspected drug charges.

According to the post at Daily Kos and other liberal sites:

In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home.
Only "the man and his home" you say? Well too bad for Kos the truth is right there in the case brief itself, easily accessible thanks to the Internet.

From the case text itself:
The typed affidavit requested permission to search John Doe's residence and his Volkswagen for drugs, paraphernalia, money, drug records and other evidence.

The search should also include all occupants of the residence...
Oh there's more, but I encourage you to follow the link and read it yourself. You'll find that everyone in the home was subject to legal search.

So yes, when police are serving a warrant to arrest a possible drug suspect, it is certainly reasonable to assume other persons in the residence may be concealing sought after contraband, and are subject to search. To disagree with Alito's ruling is to give criminals the right to use minors as a concealing vehicle for contraband. A loophole so wide would be open that it would be nearly impossible to catch these guys if they could just stash their goods in their child's diaper.

But you know what, if you want to oppose Alito, then fine. But don't lie or falsify his record. Read the damn cases for yourself before determining he is yet another "extremist" who will "turn back the clock" on everything conservatives supposedly want to turn back.

Samuel Alito -- Solid Pick

The president served his country well this morning when he nominated Samuel Alito of the 3rd District Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court. A conservative, yes, but as fair and open-minded as any judge should be.

Not everyone will agree with his opinions, but if you actually (and few have) read through the pages you will find a principled jurist, not a radical or extremist or clock-turner.

Here's a list of some notable opinions courtesy of SCOTUSblog:

A majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler, 168 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 1999), holding that the Establishment Clause was not violated by a city hall holiday display that contained a creche, a menorah, secular symbols of the season, and a banner proclaiming the city's dedication to diversity.

A majority opinion in Fatin v. INS, 12 F.3d 1233 (3d Cir. 1993), holding that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish that she had a well founded fear of persecution in Iran if she could show that compliance with that country's "gender specific laws and repressive social norms," such as the requirement that women wear a veil in public, would be deeply abhorrent to her. Judge Alito also held that she could establish eligibility for asylum by showing that she would be persecuted because of gender, belief in feminism, or membership in a feminist group.

A majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001), striking down as contrary to the First Amendment a public school district anti-harassment policy that extended to nonvulgar, non-school-sponsored speech that posed no realistic threat of substantial disruption of school work.

A majority opinion in Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S., 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004), holding that a school district did not provide a high school student with a free and appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when it failed to protect the student from bullying by fellow students who taunted the student based on his lack of athleticism and his perceived sexual orientation.

A majority opinion in Williams v. Price, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003), granting a writ of habeas corpus to an African-American state prisoner after state courts had refused to consider the testimony of a witness who stated that a juror had uttered derogatory remarks about African Americans during an encounter in the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial.

A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As Judge Alito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems--such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition--that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.

A dissenting opinion in Homar v. Gilbert, 89 F.3d 1009 (3d Cir. 1996) arguing that that a state university did not violate the procedural due process rights of a campus policeman when it suspended him without pay and without a prior hearing upon learning that he had been arrested and charged with drug offenses. The Supreme Court, which reversed and remanded the case on other grounds, agreed with Judge Alito's reasoning that no hearing was required prior to the suspension because the drug charges showed that the suspension was not baseless.

A dissenting opinion in Sheridan v. Dupont, 74 F.3d 1439 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc) arguing that a plaintiff in a sex discrimination case should not inevitably be able to survive summary judgment simply by casting doubt on the employer's proffer of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment decision.

Dragging Rosa Parks Into The Fight

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York had the audacity to bring the late Rosa Parks into the Supreme Court fight. Speaking before reporters, Schumer went on record as saying he hoped Samuel Alito won't work to reverse all that Parks had gained.

The despicable senator remarked:

Like Rosa Parks, Judge Alito will be able to change history by virtue of where he sits. The real question today is whether Judge Alito would use his seat on the bench, just as Rosa Parks used her seat on the bus, to change history for the better or whether he would use that seat to reverse much of what Rosa Parks and so many others fought so hard and for so long to put in place.

Judge Alito's visit to Rosa Parks this morning was appropriate. His record, as I'm sure Rosa Parks would agree, is much more important.
Instead of making " bus/bench seat" analogies and speaking for the late Rosa Parks, perhaps Mr. Schumer should get down to reviewing the many opinions Alito drafted so he can fulfill his constitutional role and either support or reject Judge Alito.

Of course, we all know how Schumer will vote. He has a litmus test and made it clear when he voted "nay" on John Roberts.

Bush's Revival

Thursday, October 27, 2005

When it wasn't likely Miers would back down. When it was almost a guarantee she would be confirmed to replace Sandra Day O' Connor on the Supreme Court. Then, yes then, Democrats were content with accusing Bush of being a crony. They could take shots at him even though in secret they were blowing a collective sigh of relief. Bush could have done much worse. Harry Reid was happy with the pick, and Chuck Schumer couldn't find the words to form coherent sentences. He was shocked. He was expecting a hard-right constructionist. Christmas came early.

But now she's gone and the Democrats are faced with a new reality. Bush, with a newly charged base, might go for that hard-right nominee. Despite charges of cronyism, Democrats knew Miers was their best chance at getting another O'Connor, or perhaps a Souter, or maybe even a Kennedy.

So what do they do now? Attack him, like they always do. After accepting the withdrawal from a "crony" (you'd think that would be a good thing) Democrats began charging him with "caving in to his radical right-wing base."

But Republican senators themselves were reluctant to support her, and Bush realized he made a miscalculation and can start anew; fresh. He can bring the fight to the Senate and energize his base like they've never been before.

Indictments may be looming. The White House is a bit shaken up. But Bush is back in the driver seat and can bring the much needed debate about the proper role of the courts to center stage.

Any Truth in Al Franken?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Today Al Franken's latest book The Truth (With Jokes) hits stores, and I don't anticipate lugging through the 300+ page tome just so I can reaffirm his opinion that the Christian Right is evil, Bush really didn't win the election (again), and America was "scared" into voting for Bush otherwise they would have naturally picked the finer candidate in John Kerry.

Nevertheless I will give it a shot and hopefully have a nice review penned before the end of the weekend. It's that kind of torture I'm always willing to expose myself to because I know you're just dying to find out if it's any good.

For the Price of 2,000 American Soldiers

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You can buy a trial for Saddam Hussein, two gravestones for his murderous sons, and a new constitution for the Iraqi people whose region is in desperate need of stabilization.

Unlike most in the blogosphere I refuse to judge the war on terror at this point in time. While it seems like we've been in Iraq forever now, it's only been 2.5 years, and a lot is getting done - albeit with major consequences.

With word of the 2,000 death toll milestone, Americans are understandably distancing themselves from the president they trusted enough to reelect in 2004. And with his most recent gaffe in nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, look not to me for a defense of his presidency.

In survival mode, the president has only been able to give speech after speech defending his actions. Iraq was the right decision. Miers was the right choice. Rosa Parks was "most inspiring."

You've got a lot of work to do, Mr. President. And it doesn't start with another speech.

Edit: Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin looks into the validity of the 2,000 milestone. Perhaps it's worth a look.

Stories We Can't Ignore

Monday, October 24, 2005

Despite my general abhorrence of the ACLU, we must pay close attention to these findings they have brought to light:

WASHINGTON - At least 21 detainees who died while being held in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed, many during or after interrogations, according to an analysis of Defense Department data by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The analysis, released Monday, looked at 44 deaths described in records obtained by the ACLU. Of those, the group characterized 21 as homicides, and said at least eight resulted from abusive techniques by military or intelligence officers, such as strangulation or "blunt force injuries," as noted in the autopsy reports.

The 44 deaths represent a partial group of the total number of prisoners who have died in U.S. custody overseas; more than 100 have died of natural and violent causes.

In one case, the report said, a detainee died after being smothered during interrogation by military intelligence officers in November 2003. In another case cited by the report, a prisoner died of asphyxiation and blunt force injuries after he was left standing, shackled to the top of a door frame, with a gag in his mouth.

Details about the detainee abuse and deaths have been released by the Pentagon as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Many of the incidents have been made public previously, and in a number of cases soldiers and officers involved have been prosecuted and punished.

Many are questioning the motives of the ACLU, especially since they're getting involved with abuses that aren't against American citizens. To some degree the ACLU deserves to be watched as being a possible anti-war propaganda tool.

But that being said, we must -- as the finest nation in the world -- hold ourselves to higher standards and punish any and all persons responsible for committing atrocities against detainees held in our custody.

There Goes the Perfect Season

Sunday, October 16, 2005

You'll have to excuse my pouting this week as I'm still trying to get over FSU's embarrassing lost to unranked Virginia on Saturday. The only bright spot of the weekend was the Tampa Bay Bucs manhandling the Miami Dolphins, but I'm still genuinely upset over the Florida State defeat.

In God's Image?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

A new Gallup poll on the origins of life has taken me by surprise:

Fifty-three percent say God created humans in their present form the way the Bible describes it, essentially endorsing a strict creationist explanation. Twelve percent endorse the strict evolutionary perspective -- that humans evolved from other species, but without any divine intervention. Thirty-one percent choose the modified perspective, believing human beings evolved from other species but with God guiding the process. That closely matches the perspective commonly known as "intelligent design."
I subscribe to the second mot popular answer, that humans have evolved but with either assistance from God or no assistance after He created the universe or "got the ball rolling."

I was not expecting the majority to believe in a "strict creationist" theory, because it is a religiously orthodox point of view and a random sample of citizens would hardly be likely to include many devout believers. To be sure, the results from the poll indicate the majority also wants evolution to be taught in public school science classes, if at least along with the creationism theory. I too believe both theories should be presented.

Simpson's Second Chance

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Those of us with an unhealthy familiarity with pop culture remember Ashlee Simpson's performance debacle last year on Saturday Night Live. Tonight the inept singer got a second chance to humiliate herself, and she took full advantage of it.

After being introduced by Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) the 21-year-old "singer" told sympathetic audience the song she "wrote" was about her last appearance on SNL when a humiliating glitch revealed a vocal track that was doing all the singing.

The song, a lumbering number suspiciously similar to a popular Jewl ballad, highlights Simpson's inability to carry a note longer than three seconds. Her range is desperately short as whenever she tries to reach for a higher octave her voice cracks. The lyrics are just awful; something to the effect of "Who will catch me when I fall..."

I can't recall all every line, probably because it was so painful to endure. But I felt like I had to comment on it because I did last year and I need to get President Bush's lousy pick of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court out of my head.

Bases Empty

Friday, October 07, 2005

It doesn't get any worse for our beloved (blah) president:

Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in President Bush's political coalition are worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance, an AP-Ipsos poll found.
I guess when you're a lame duck poll numbers don't matter anymore, but the president has a legacy to either preserve or destroy. It would be incredible for Bush to remembered throughout the ages as the president who had the largest role in the reshaping of the Supreme Court.

With John Paul Stevens staring at 90 down the road, Mr. Bush could soon be presented with a third chance to change the court. We don't yet know how Roberts will turn out because he's still a stealth justice, but Miers is a super-stealth appointment.

Bush could have gone hard-right both times, forcing Democrats into a nasty fight with the GOP. Regardless of the outcome it would have chilled whatever scandals are currently brewing on the Right side of the aisle, and provided at least one more highly qualified judge a chance to sit on the highest court when instead he goes for his personal lawyer.

Bush Delivers Stinger to Conservatives

Monday, October 03, 2005

Are we really surprised spineless George went with Harriet Myers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court? She's a friend. A close friend. And that's all that matters. Why give back to your faithful conservative base when there are friends to reward?

But the truth is we should be fair when it comes to scrutinizing Myers. We know virtually nothing about her considering she has as much judicial experience as Paris Hilton. Until the Senate hearings take place in a few weeks every word spoken about her will be uncorroborated speculation.

Maybe Bush has calculated a brilliant scheme. He knew a paper trail would cause a meltdown in the Senate and he felt he could get Roberts-like success with a "stealth" (which by the way have never turned out swell for Republicans) nominee.

Vice President Dick Cheney has been making the rounds on talk radio doing damage control. He pleaded with Rush Limbaugh to "trust him" on the nominee, and he's expected to be on Sean Hannity within the hour.

I don't know, but part of me is convinced -- like with Roberts -- Bush knows something we don't and is confident he picked a solid originalist to replace the "swing vote" on the Supreme Court.

Or maybe the liberals are right. Maybe President Bush is just plain stupid.

Don't Worry, Mickey Mouse Ain't Packing

I must mention three spectacular items as a result of this weekend. The Tampa Bay Bucs are 4-0. The Florida State Seminoles are 4-0. And since Saturday Floridians have been able to use deadly force on murderers attempting to harm their families without first trying to run away.

Naturally, Brady Campaign is flipping out and doing its best to deliver a serious blow to our tourism industry with these misleading and unfair campaigns warning you of "nervous" and "frightened" residents.

As an owner of three handguns I can proudly say I've yet to blow anyone's brains out. Maybe it's because tourists have been following the advice of Brady Campaign by avoiding confrontations with me.

Or perhaps it's because I'm not a total f-ing idiot.

It goes without saying Brady Campaign has been down-right lying about the legal aspects of the "meet force with force" law now in effect. From the shameful propaganda front, (my emphasis in bold):

The new Florida Shoot First law eliminates the duty to retreat and allows a person not engaged in unlawful activity who is attacked in a public place to "stand his or her ground" and use deadly force if "he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony."
Attacked in a public place, huh? Well if we take a look at the actual law which I encourage you to read for yourself lest the family trip to Disney World becomes doubtful, you'll see the truth is far from what Brady Campaign states:
776.013, F.S.; An act relating to the protection of persons and property; creating s. 776.013, F.S.; authorizing a person to use force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker in a dwelling, residence, or vehicle under specified circumstances; creating a presumption that a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm ecists under certain circumstances;
It's unfortunate, I know, but the law doesn't extend to O.K. Corral-style gunfights outside the "It's a Small World" ride at Disney World. Sadly, we gunslingers cannot be jabbing our barrels at view-blocking spectators at the Kennedy Space Center or from the nosebleed seats at a Bucs or Seminoles game.