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Calling in the Range on Judge Alito

Monday, November 21, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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With more than 50 days yet to go until the start of his hearings, the big MSM guns are slowly getting Judge Alito into range. Their ability to do so is the product of Senator Specter’s concession to postpone hearings until next year (which combined with his refusal to sign the Patriot Act conference report or bring Brett Kavanaugh out of the deep freezer of the Judiciary Committee suggest that his commitments made to the GOP caucus a year ago had an expiration date).

Here’s today’s New York Times on Judge Alito:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has compiled a brief but unmistakable record, lawyers and analysts say, that makes him a leader in the camp of conservative theorists and judges who believe federal courts have been too quick to limit religious activities in public life.

During his 15 years sitting in Newark as a member of a federal appeals court, Judge Alito has sided almost uniformly with those who have complained vigorously in recent years that zealousness in enforcing the Constitution’s separation of church and state has unfairly inhibited religious practices….

Eliot Mincberg, the legal director of People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group, said Judge Alito’s record demonstrates that he was “very solicitous when it comes to protecting the right of an individual to practice his religion, but not so solicitous of the right of people to be free of government-supported religion.”

This morning’s Washington Post editorializes that Judge Alito’s Commerce Clause ruling on machine guns –though clearly based on Judge Alito’s understanding of the Lopez case– raise issues that the Senate must probe:

The machine gun law banned both transfer and possession of machine guns — the ban on possession being an effort to criminalize the demand side of the gun market, while the transfer ban criminalized the supply side. Judge Alito’s desire to extend the logic of Lopez to such a law seems to indicate an overly restrictive approach to the commerce clause — though he did note that Congress could fix the statute quite easily. Senators will need to satisfy themselves that he does not envision a dramatic curtailing of national power.

If the Senate GOP spends December toasting each other and raising money and not raising a defense of Judge Alito to each and every MSM-attack or Democratic lie, the nominee will have been pummelled for seven straight weeks before the gavel comes down. Since Senator Specter set the schedule, perhaps he can organize the defense.

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