Alito's Confirmation Would Drive Women's Rights Back Decades
Arlington, Virginia – Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal issued the following statement on the nomination of Samuel A. Alito to the Supreme Court:
The Feminist Majority opposes the nomination of Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. Alito is no O’Connor. Instead of reaching out to women and/or people of color to make the Supreme Court more diverse and representative, Bush has slammed the door in the face of women and minorities. He has appointed a man who would turn back the clock on women’s rights and civil rights. Not only is the Court not representative in terms of race and gender, but also in terms of religion – with Alito, the majority of the Court would be Roman Catholics, which would underrepresent other religions, not to mention nonbelievers.
Alito is no conservative; rather, he is a reactionary. Dubbed “Scalito,” he is to the far-right of the current Court – even to the right of Justices Scalia and Thomas. He was the only judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to require women to notify their husbands – even husbands who batter women – to obtain an abortion. He voted against the Family and Medical Leave Act – this time not permitting state employees to sue for damages under the Act. He dissented solo again on a decision upholding a conviction under the federal law prohibiting the transfer or possession of machine guns – questioning whether Congress had the power under the Commerce Clause to enact such a law. Alito was the lone dissenter on a sex discrimination in employment case – he wanted “smoking gun” type evidence making nearly impossible an effort to prove sex discrimination.
In case after case, Alito has demonstrated hostility to women’s rights, civil rights, worker’s rights, separation of church and state, and privacy rights. He would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade and would not recognize lesbian and gay rights.
Needless to say, Alito has the strong support of numerous right-wing groups. Bush bowed to right-wing pressure in selecting Alito. He moved from a position of weakness and threw down the gauntlet for a fight from a whole host of women’s rights, civil rights, civil liberties, worker’s rights, environmental, and progressive groups. Bush is hoping to change the national debate from his administration’s troubles with Iraq, Katrina, and indictments. In a difficult time for the nation, Bush chose to solidify his far-right base and ignore the mainstream and the dreams and struggles of women and people of color. He chose to divide, not unify, the nation.
If Bush wants a fight, he will get one that will finally show the people of this nation how two-faced and reactionary he has been on both women’s rights and civil rights.