Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The case for an Alito filibuster

I'm not sure whether I think an Alito filibuster is wise, but with a little tweaking, this post from Legal Fiction offers an excellent justification.

Publius argues that a filibuster probably wouldn't hurt anyone, because most people don't care about Alito. He doesn't mention this Pew poll from earlier this month, but the fact that 48% of the public had no opinion on his confirmation and that a mere 14% were paying close attention to his hearings is evidence enough that there isn't a lot of political cost involved in making a fuss over Alito.

I've spent some time already laying out my problems with Alito, his attitude toward women, his ability to ignore the presence of racism, his preference for machine guns over judicial restraint, his lack of concern for working families, his support for summary executions, to name a few. When people come into his court with an inherent societal disadvantage, they tend to come out with that same disadvantage, and that's not what justice should look like.

The fact that Americans aren't paying attention means they don't know about these things. The fact that he justified a warrantless strip search of a 10 year old child should outrage people, but only if they know about it.

And the filibuster forces people to pay a little more attention. Many people, forgetting the lesson Hannah Arendt taught us, think that the banality of the hearings means Judge Alito is not evil, is not the wrong man for the job, and is not going to mess with their lives.

If the hearings lacked the spice to get people involved in an important matter, maybe a filibuster is the way. Filibuster is meant to offer time for debate. Let's have that debate.