Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Alito

From the start my thought was, so long as he's competent and not a loony, might as well approve him. And my sense was that he met this standard. But I am starting to wonder.

All that stuff he said in the past and now tries to shrug off gets disturbing, after a while. And for me the make or break issue is, not abortion, but rather Presidential dictatorship.

In today's hearings, based on news reports (I consider my time too valuable to watch these bloviathons), I note that he almost certainly lied about his knowledge concerning Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a conservative group that any alum of a certain era (such as him and me, to name two) knows about. And since he was a member for 8 or 9 years, he should certainly know lots more about them than I do, which is lots less than he apparently admits to.

But I particularly disliked the quote from the news report where, asked if the President has to follow the law, he said: ""The president has to follow the Constitution and the laws."

On its face, what could be more anodyne. But in context, this appears to be an endorsement in code of the Yoo position that the President is an absolute monarch during his term of office (and presumably beyond, if as Commander in Chief he decides to cancel the next election). This is Bush Administration-speak for "The President doesn't have to follow any laws that he doesn't like. Any time he claims constitutional authority to disregard the law, no further inquiry by any branch of government is permissible."

I'm offended both by the dangerously authoritarian cast of this theory and by what I judge to be Alito's disingenuous use of code words to mislead about his true beliefs and intentions. The use of code words suggests that he is a card-carrying member of the White House talking points brigade.

If he's confirmed, I hope I'm wrong.

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