NOW to Activate Members Nationwide to Oppose Alito for Supreme Court
Statement of National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy
October 31, 2005
On Halloween George W. Bush handed ultra-conservatives a treat with his nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, but he won't trick women and girls with a nominee who opposes our rights. While NOW is disappointed that Bush proposes to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with yet another white male conservative, we are most concerned by Alito's position on the far right of the judicial spectrum, distinctly outside the mainstream. If Alito is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, many of our fundamental rights will be at great risk.
NOW is strongly opposed to the elevation of Judge Alito and will activate our members in communities nationwide to defeat his nomination to the High Court. Since Bush caved to the extremists' vicious campaign against Harriet Miers, women's rights supporters have been anticipating that he would bend to their will and appoint a judicial extremist of their choosing. He has done exactly that, and we are ready for the fight.
Referred to as "Scalito" for his philosophical resemblance to Justice Antonin Scalia, federal appeals court Judge Alito is a clear opponent of reproductive freedom, protections for workers, and other individual rights. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, Alito authored a solo 1991 dissent supporting a state law that required women to inform their husbands before being permitted to obtain an abortion. In his opinion, Alito brushed aside the concern that battered women could face serious consequences if forced to discuss abortion with a violent spouse, saying that the evidence "provides no basis for determining how many women would be adversely affected." The Supreme Court rejected his position in 1992.
Alito's decisions in a number of other cases demonstrate a rigid adherence to "states rights" at the expense of those facing sex and race discrimination and other civil rights violations. In one opinion, Chittister v. Department of Community & Economic Development, Alito said Congress has no authority to penalize state governments for failing to comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act. Even the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist disagreed with this opinion and the Supreme Court reversed Alito's ruling by a 6 to 3 vote.
Judge Alito's lone dissent in Sheridan v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Company indicated that he would add difficult evidentiary hurdles for women who sue for sex discrimination in the workplace under Title VII. His dissent in Bray v. Marriott Hotels was described by the majority opinion as an attempt to "eviscerate" use of Title VII in race discrimination cases by imposing almost impossible evidentiary burdens on plaintiffs. Sadly these are just a few of Judge Alito's many opinions which confirm our conclusion that if Judge Alito ascends to the Supreme Court, civil rights and women's rights will be in peril. Alito's record is also replete with decisions attacking the separation of church and state, and permitting discrimination against people with disabilities, seniors and immigrants.
NOW activists will be calling on their U.S. senators, across party lines, to protect the rights and liberties of all their constituents. Women's rights, and indeed our very lives, are at stake. Will senators stand up for women, or will they, too, bend to the will of right-wing extremists?
###For Immediate Release
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