Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Irony and Pennsylvania

Matt and Ezra thinks it’s silly that Arlen Specter, senior Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and Chairman of the judiciary committee, seems to like Supreme Court nominee Judge Alito. Specter campaigned as pro-choice in Pennsylvania, and they believe that Pennsylvanians would find Alito’s pro-life positions very unpopular.

The only real evidence we have of Alito being pro-life of course, is that he affirmed the state government’s regulations in one of the first cases to test abortion rights, Casey v. Planned Parenthood. The SCOTUS then struck down some of those provisions.

I wonder how the logic goes that an elected legislator from Pennsylvania would believe a judge is unpopular for not striking down a law made by the legislature of Pennsylvania. I suppose the law could have been written and passed against the will of the people, or that it was enforced in a way people don’t like anymore. But still, the burden of proof for popular agreement would have to be on the judicial activists in this case, not the people who let the law stand.

Extra fun irony fact: one of the most important elections for 2006 is the Pennsylvania Senatorial race against incumbent arch-conservative Rick Santorum. There is nothing more the cultural left would like in that year than to win this battle. The all-but-coronated Democratic opponent will be Bob Casey Jr., son and inheritor of the political dynasty of the Governor Casey for whom this “unpopular” court case was named.

Non-fun non-ironic fact: Appointed by the first Bush, when Arlen was the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania and on the Judiciary Committee, Specter was almost certainly consulted about appointing Alito to the District Court for Pennselvania. It would be a good guess that Specter already vetting and approving of him was part of the reason Alito was chosen, and so I expect to see a smooth ride through the Judiciary Committee.


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