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Alito Hearings: Lesson 2, Day 1

Here's a helpful comparison of basic judicial philosophies. First, consider this comment today by Senator Kennedy:

In an era when too many Americans are losing their jobs or working for less, trying to make ends meet, in close cases Judge Alito has ruled the vast majority of the time against the claims of the individual citizens. He has acted instead in favor of government, large corporations and other powerful interests.... To put it plainly, average Americans have had a hard time getting a fair shake in his courtroom.

Now this from Judge Alito's opening remarks:

And there is nothing that is more important for our republic than the rule of law. No person in this country, no matter how high or powerful, is above the law, and no person in this country is beneath the law.

Fifteen years ago, when I was sworn in as a judge of the court of appeals, I took an oath. I put my hand on the Bible and I swore that I would administer justice without respect to persons, that I would do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I would carry out my duties under the Constitution and the laws of the United States.

Notice the difference? Kennedy makes no mention of the rule of law. In his opening remarks, Kennedy repeatedly referenced the phrase "equal justice," but clearly in Kennedy's liberal worldview the concept of "equal justice" has less to do with impartially following the letter of the law than with "getting a fair shake." Kennedy is not concerned with the quality or the soundness of Alito's legal rulings, only the outcomes. That's the textbook definition of judicial activism.

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