T Nation

Alito Parts With Conservatives on Execution


#1

I am pissed off by this!

What the heck happened?!?!?!?!

"New U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito disagreed with the court's conservatives and refused to allow Missouri to execute a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Kansas City teenager 17 years ago.

Alito sided with the majority in a 6-3 vote that rejected a last minute request to allow Missouri to carry out the execution of Michael Taylor, 39, by lethal injection at midnight, a court spokesman said on Thursday. "

http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=11078951&src=rss/topNews


#2

When did econservatives become pro-execution?


#3

I'm reserving my comment. All we have as of yet is a vote count to go from, no opinions issued by the court, although I do not know if they issue opinions with respect to execution appeals. The link that was on the drudge report yesterday (I can't seem to find it in the archives today for some reason) said that this specific case had been referred to the court a number of times by both the prosecution and defense, with the same outcome - the lower court was not overruled.


#4

liberalphobia is a huge part of the conservative paltform.


#5

I'm along the same lines in terms of reserving comment (especially since I am not a proponent of the death penalty). What I find interesting is that people seem to have bought into the notion that Alito is a "conservative" and its a very dicey proposition to describe judges (especially Supreme Court justices) as "liberal" or "conservative". Alito has a particular judicial philosophy that may align with several different conservative viewpoints, but that does not mean his decisions will be a lock step approval of something written in the National Review.


#6

I think this was just a ploy to throw off the liberals, since his vote didn't really matter either way.


#7

Whatever made you think this administration or any of their various nominees were conservatives?

Its just a word they attach themselves to to garner support.

The neo-conservatives are all liberals, liberals hawks as they embrace military might, all other aspects they are still liberals.


#8

Apparently from the way the report was written, it's difficult to tell whether Alito actually voted -- I've also seen two different vote tallies reported, leading me to think it's not so clear what's going on.

But that's just the ambiguity of the USSC clerk's report combined with the fact he just began sitting. Of course, everyone should jump on with an opinion of this without any recourse to the facts or law of the situation...


#9

Also from the article:

"The way a justice votes on a stay request does not necessarily signal how the justice will rule on the merits of a death penalty case. The court earlier this week granted a similar stay of execution to another death row inmate from Florida."

I don't think you have much to worry about in the vein of Alito being the next Harry A. Blackmun (God rest his soul).


#10

This is almost the definition of neo-conservative. It is not neo-nazi as some may think.


#11

Exactly. A judge who is "judicially conservative" will sometimes come across as libertarian and uphold individual rights over increased government power.

A good example was when Clarence Thomas, and I believe the late Rehnquist joined him, dissented in the medical marijuana case. In that case, the federal government tried to say that federal drug laws preempted California's medical marijuana law. Thomas said no they didn't. While I'm sure Thomas is not in favor of drug use, he was able to put this feeling aside and vote in favor of limited government.

The principle of limited government is a concept that neither conservatives nor liberals understand.


#12

Good. It's nice when our Justices actually use their brains. We needed another O'Connor. Nice when Supreme Court Justices vote on the issues and in ways that make the most equitable solutions rather than stupidly on party lines.


#13

Nice point - there is a difference between an activist judge that decides in order to effectuate right-wing policy results and judicial conservatives.

This is completely lost on the current state of the Left, which disappointingly sees only two kinds of judges - activists for 'progressive' policy and activists for right-wing policy.

A judicial conservative is a believer in judicial restraint - but that point of view has been obscured in the recent rhetoric.


#14

Good point, Mike. It reminds me of a piece I saw the other day on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110007899

As that shows, even some of Scalia's decisions on criminal law could be viewed as "liberal" through our current misguided construct of what the political spectrum is for judges.


#15

from rush limbaugh - alito did what he said he would do.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: All right, I need to put the brakes on something here, my good buddies. The media is just excited, they're beside themselves, they just can't stand it. "New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke ranks with the court's conservatives late on Wednesday, refusing to allow Missouri to execute a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Kansas City teenager 17 years ago." This according to CNN, although they've all reported this by now. "Alito sided with the majority in a 6-3 vote rejecting a last minute request to allow Missouri to carry out the execution of Michael Taylor, 39, by lethal injection at midnight. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported allowing the execution to proceed. Earlier on Wednesday, the Court rejected Missouri's bid to immediately lift a stay of execution for Taylor. Alito did not take part in that decision, the court order said."

Now, here are the last two paragraphs of this story. "Alito replaced Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate conservative who had been the swing vote in a series of 5-4 decisions on social issues. Alito was expected to align himself with the court's conservative bloc and could affect the outcome of votes on key social issues." So the media is like, "All right, we dodged a bullet." They're all excited there, and especially happy that you conservatives will be down in the dumps and upset and feeling betrayed. And we did a little research on this. My instinctive reaction to this when I heard it last night was, "Hey, hey, hey, hey, put the brakes on, hold on. This could be nothing more than the fact that Alito's not yet familiar with the case and is not going to vote on the basis of hastening an action here that he's not certain about." Then we did a little more research, and we found that during the hearings, Samuel Alito actually said that he favored review of death penalty cases, and even said that he would provide the fifth vote as a matter of judicial courtesy if that situation were to arise. He's actually doing something he said he would do during the hearings. Now, as I understand it -- and we're still checking this out -- but as I understand it, when these requests come to the Supreme Court to execute somebody from a state, if there are four justices who want to hold off and the result would be 5-4 in favor of allowing the state to execute, traditionally the Supreme Court has not wanted these votes to end up 5-4, because life is at stake here. And so they've always -- not always, but in many cases -- they've practiced deference, if there are as many as four of the nine justices who want to put on the brakes and allow another review or appeal. And it could well be that Alito is simply doing that as well. Mr. Snerdley vividly remembers this when he was watching the hearings.

I find it curious that none of this has been reported that Alito said this during the hearings. Well, I guess I'm not surprised by it because what Alito said in the hearings was really irrelevant. Nobody was paying attention to that in the media, nonetheless. They were paying attention to Senator Kennedy and Senator Turban and Senator Leahy and all the Democrats who were trying to gin up some sort of scandal about the man. I remember even making jokes during the opening statements after the Senate judiciary committee members all made their opening statements, Alito dared to give his. I said, "What does he think this is? He's not supposed to speak." You could see how upset Senator Kennedy was that Judge Alito dared to even speak and recite his opening statement orally. And so what he said, really throughout the course of the hearings, what Judge Alito said was inconsequential in most cases, and so I want to double-check and make sure. It?s not that I doubt Mr. Snerdley. You know, we hear at the EIB Network, we don't like to do anything until we have eight sources.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

Here's a little blurb, summary of coverage: Samuel Alito on Final Day of Hearing. It ran in the Associated Press on January 13th. On the subject of the death penalty: "Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Alito whether, as a courtesy, he would sign on as the required fifth person if four other justices vote to stay an execution or hear the case. Alito said that seems to be a 'very sensible procedure because I think we all want to avoid the tragedy of having an innocent person executed.'" So there was more back-and-forth with Feingold on this, and Alito got far more detailed. He said, "Look, sometimes I'm going to uphold and sometimes I'm not. It's going to depend on the specifics of the case."

So the bottom line here is that this was not unexpected. In fact, it was predictable. And this was not a split -- well, technically I guess you could say it was a split because Scalia and Thomas and Chief Justice Roberts voted one way and Alito didn't join them, but that's because there were enough votes on the other side. There were five votes to delay the case. In fact, as I said, during the hearings he said he favored review of death penalty cases. Even said he would provide a fifth vote as a matter of judicial courtesy if that situation were to arise. Judicial courtesy meaning if there are four justices that don't want to throw the switch or pull the plunger on the hypodermic, out of courtesy he'll delay it just to keep reviewing it. So he's done exactly what he said he would do. Nothing unexpected whatsoever.

END TRANSCRIPT


#16

WTF are you talking about?

Justices of the SCOTUS do not need to run for re-election. They are appointed for life.

Our public school education at its finest!


#17

A drug addict who lost his hearing from drug abuse has no credibility.

Who give a F what that shitbird thinks?

You could have summarized that for us in your own words without referencing anyone.


#18

Simmer down.
It was a joke, dumbass.


#19

I don't think this means what the media is making it out to mean.

There is a bigger process involved and the article refers to it, but does not explain it.


#20

What are you talking about? Did he say they had to run for re-election?

I think your reading comprehension, or lack thereof, is more an embarrassment to our educational system than doogies post.