Sunday, November 06, 2005

Alito: For Freedom ... from Fags

Talk about creative spin. This is what passes for centrist judges these days ...

According to AP, the Bush Administration is offering reporters thick briefing books making it clear that Samuel Alito would be a moderate justice and not the scum-sucking conservative posited by some liberal groups:

"On the issue of free speech, White House officials sought to rebut what they called the allegation that Alito 'is an ideological conservative who would be too deferential to the government and do too little to protect the First Amendment right to free speech.'

"Officials cited Alito's opinion in the 2001 case of Saxe v. State College Area School District. In the unanimous ruling, the 3rd Circuit struck down a school's anti-harassment policy, saying it was a violation of the free speech clause in the First Amendment.

"A group of students who identified themselves as Christians had challenged the policy, saying their religion teaches them that homosexuality is a sin and they believe 'they have a right to speak out about the sinful nature and harmful effects of homosexuality.'"

What? Is that a fucking joke? The White House scurries around to prove that Alito supports the First Amendment, and the best they can offer is a decision in which he helped allow the wholesale taunting and harassment of gay college students? Alito and his colleagues were firm on the Constitution. No free-speakin' students would be told they couldn't stand with a bullhorn outside a gay student's dorm room and give that hell-lovin' queer a piece o' their mind, no siree bobcat tail.

Hey, why doesn't the White House really try to impress us? Let's see where Alito stands on incidents of free expression that don't conceivably involve a burning cross.


At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Brett said...

"they have a right to speak out about the sinful nature and harmful effects of homosexuality."

I admit I don't know what form the "speaking out" took. so it may indeed have been harmful. But I don't read you offering any evidence that it involved bullhorns, taunting or harassment, let alone burning a cross. In fact, since the case involved a public high school, that kind of behavior can be prohibited, and the courts have upheld a school administration's right to do so. Hyperbole like this doesn't advance your argument and allows people to dismiss it without fully considering whether or not it has merit (and I, for one, think it may).

On a complete tangent to this post, but related to your earlier one, congratulations on the impending arrival -- If you can find a cut of Jonathan Brandmeier's "How'm I Gonna Be a Dad?" I think you'll find yourself nodding along as you laugh.

At 7:53 PM, Blogger Chase McInerney said...

Well, good point, Brett... I guess I spiraled off a bit.

What strikes me as strange isn't so much the decision as the fact that the White House included it to bolster the idea that Alito is a strong proponent of the First Amendment.

I think the use of the opinion itself is cynical ostensibly using to mollify moderates when the subtext is such an obvious wink-wink-nudge-nudge to the Christian Right. I suppose that's what bothers me most.

Forgive the hyperbole. I'll blame it on impending parenthood.

At 8:23 PM, Anonymous Brett said...

I think you're dead on target on the cynicism. The opinion itself is a pretty typical judicial smackdown on a public school speech code that is written too broadly. Courts all over the country regularly act that way when someone brings a suit against one of these kinds of codes. The selection of the issue is a clumsy attempt to mollify a base, but use moderate colors to paint the picture. I'd much rather the administration let Judge Alito give his own answers so I can see what he's like. Not only would he then demonstrate if he really is suitable for the court, the way John Roberts did, but it would also show they have confidence in his ability to do so. I'd think that would go a lot longer in the swaying of the on-the-fence crowd than this kind of hackneyed gamesmanship.


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