Alito–A Fifth Catholic on High Court? and Overheard Re: Alito

If Samuel Alito, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court, he would become the court’s fifth conservative, male Roman Catholic–joining practicing Roman Catholics Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas (a convert), Anthony Kennedy and John Roberts.

Alito has ruled against the separation of church and state in more than one decision. He wrote a majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler holding that a city holiday display which included a menorah and a nativity scene did not violate the First Amendment, because it also contained such secular symbols as Frosty the Snowman.”

Alito’s best-known dissent came in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1991, in which he would have upheld a Pennsylvania law requiring women to notify husbands before obtaining abortions.

If Alito is appointed to replace liberal swing-voter Sandra Day O’Connor, Judge Ruth Ginsburg would be the court’s only remaining female. The Canadian Supreme Court, which also has nine members, has four women justices, including its chief justice.

The Alito nomination was announced on Halloween, Oct. 31. About an hour before Pres. Bush made the public announcement, his top adviser, Karl Rove, was on the phone to religious arch-conservatives. Rove phoned Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention from a mobile phone in an airport. About the same time, Ed Gillespie, former chair of the Republican Party, phoned Paul Weyrich, a religious-right organizer, and a Rove aide called Rev. Jerry Falwell.

By midmorning, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Pat Robertson’s legal arm, had coordinated a coalition of some 80 grassroots groups and rightwing legal experts “to plot strategy,” according to The New York Times (Nov. 1, 2005).

Overheard Re: Alito

I must take my hat off to George Bush on this one [nomination of Alito].

Chuck Colson
Watergate felon

Denver Post, Nov. 2, 2005

Of course he’s against abortion.

Rose Alito
Mother of Samuel Alito

Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 6, 2005

. . . the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.

Samuel Alito, 1985 memo
Then-assistant solicitor general

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1, 2005

The memo shows that Samuel Alito worked in the boiler room as one of the chief engineers of a multitiered strategy to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Nan Aron, president
Alliance for Justice

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1, 2005

Once you get . . . to that kind of insistence of veto power [by religious interest groups] over the judiciary of America, you are in very, very dangerous grounds, and that’s where we are.

When I was in politics, I didn’t like to talk about my religion. It wasn’t because I was embarrassed by it. It was just private. Now, it’s just the reverse.

Gary Hart, author
God & Caesar in America

Denver Post, Nov. 4, 2005

Freedom From Religion Foundation