The Washington Times:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that 'the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion' in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.
'I personally believe very strongly' in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.
This is the big news of the day and it has both Liberals and Conservatives girding their loins and preparing for apocalyptic battle.
I don't have any real issues philosophically with what Alito wrote, indeed I agree with them by and large and think that they are sound reasoning. Unlike many though, I get no thrill out of the prospect of a great battle for the Supreme Court.
I think that such a battle, and the glee with which conservatives in particular are embracing the concept of such a battle is harmful. There is little interest in convincing anyone that the principles Alito holds are correct, rather their is delerious joy at defeating the liberals and showing Republican primacy.
I suspect that conservatives will get what they want. The letter makes a knock down drag out more likely, they will probably win the fight, and that win will probably serve them well in 2006.
I don't know how well that will serve us all in the long run though. The war for the Supreme Court isn't the real war we are facing. This lust for partisan combat, from both sides to an extent but especially among the more rabid conservatives divides us as a nation at a time when we can ill afford that.
Let me be clear, I support Alito's nomination. He strikes me as a very good judge. From what I have read about him he seems to have a very good legal mind and approaches his cases fairly and consistently.
I don't think conservatives should not support Alito. I don't think that the fact that this letter came out is a bad, or an unfortunate thing. What I don't like is the attitude conservatives are displaying (here is one example
many more can be found.) Rather than saying 'yes, Alito think that and we think that and here is why' they are saying it doesn't matter that you liberals don't like it we are the big dog and we can take you.
I am under no illusions that a more respectful attitude would change many Senate votes or make liberals like Alito more. It might though help elevate, rather than degrade, political discourse in general. Liberals are not the enemy. They may be wrong (and I often think they are) but for the most part they are trying to do what is right just like the rest of us.
Many conservatives seem to in love with the myth of themselves as valiant heroes engaged in a mythic struggle against the evil forces of liberalism though. This myth demands a gotterdammerung of course, and they are delighted to have it.