When asked yesterday if Democrats would "rule out a filibuster" of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, the Party's Senate leader, Harry Reid, shot back an emphatic "no."
Senator Reid's declaration followed a Judiciary Committee vote on Alito in which the eight Democratic members unanimously voted against confirmation. As they cast their votes, they made the strongest arguments against placing Alito on the Court that we've heard to date.
"The president is in the midst of a radical realignment of the powers of the government and its intrusiveness into the private lives of Americans," said the Committee's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy, adding "I believe this nomination is part of that plan." He suggested that Alito was picked partly because he "convinced those advising this president that he'll be a reliable vote against challenges to presidential power."
"If we are here to uphold and defend that Constitution," Illinois' Senator Durbin asked, "does it not include, most fundamentally, our right as Americans to be left alone when it comes to our communications, to our medical records, to our business records, to the most personal decisions a person and a family can make?"
Senator Feinstein, the Committee's only woman, spoke for millions of Americans when she said, "If one is pro-choice, in this day and age, in this structure, one can't vote for Judge Alito. It is simply that simple."
The Senate's third ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, joined other Democratic Senate leaders in the same press conference in which Senator Reid held open the possibility of a filibuster. She spelled out in dramatic terms why Alito must not be confirmed. "Whether it's a family losing a dairy farm, workers losing their pensions, a mentally disabled young man who was the victim of a vicious sexual harassment in the workplace, a woman who was dealing with personal health issues and the right to choose and has a fundamental right of privacy to choose her reproductive decisions herself, an unarmed 15-year-old boy being shot dead in the back of his head by police or the strip-search of a 10-year-old girl, Judge Alito has been consistently outside the mainstream and has said no to the daily concerns of average Americans."
Judge Alito has violated judicial ethics and the right to a fair trial by presiding over cases in which he had a personal interest. In addition, Judge Alito has supported immunity for government officials who spy on Americans without a warrant, and he believes that our Constitution does not restrain the President from detaining citizens without filing any charges against them and without allowing them access to an attorney or to the courts.
Judge Alito has sworn to uphold our Constitution and impartially preside over cases; however, he has proven that he does not abide by his oath and does not respect our Constitution. Many constitutional scholars believe that Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court should not be confirmed. Instead, he should be impeached.
As the day went on, more and more Democrats announced their opposition to Alito, including California's Barbara Boxer, Connecticut's Christopher Dodd, Florida's Bill Nelson, and Illinois' Barack Obama. Senator Feinstein concluded her explanation for voting against Alito by saying, "I, for one, really believe that there comes a time when you just have to stand up."
Alito's nomination is being debated on the Senate floor as we speak. Call your senators and Democratic leaders Reid and Leahy now. Tell them the time to stand up is now -- ask them to make a commitment to do everything possible to defeat Alito's nomination.
The Senate switchboard number is (202) 224-3121
Send your senator a fax by using this link: link to www.savethecourt.org