Libertarians for Alito

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To my dismay, giddy Christian activists are in Seventh Heaven over the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Troy Newman of the pro-life Operation Rescue exults, "We are trusting that we are now on the fast-track to derailing Roe v. Wade as the law of the land." Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition, declares, "President Bush has hit a homerun with this nomination." Don Swarthout, president of Christians Reviving America's Values, adds, "We need someone on the US Supreme Court who stands for the true principles of America and applies them with common sense. In fact, I think most of America would agree that it is time for our nation to stop our tolerance for diversity programs that are detrimental to our nation."

But the libertarians over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute also see some reason to cheer:

Alito has issued landmark decisions upholding the free speech rights and freedom of association of business trade associations (Pfizer v. Giles (1995) and commercial free-speech rights (Pitt News v. Pappert (2004). His rulings have also shown a grasp of the regulatory and legal challenges facing business and an appreciation of the value of free markets.

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  1. More from Don Swarthout, President of Christians Reviving America’s Values:

    “Most Americans are tired of our lackadaisical attitude toward the principles upon which our nation was founded and they are tired of the Dr. Spock approach we seemingly use to make various decisions. We seem to have an illogical view of freedom today. Some people say that freedom means no rules, no responsibility.

    “Freedom really means living within a set of rules that most people agree upon. Freedom comes with responsibility. You have to accept the consequences of your actions. That is what true freedom is all about.

    “We need to decide whether to keep believing that criminals, terrorists, enemy combatants and illegal aliens have more rights than law abiding citizens who love and respect the American way of life.

    “This nominee will cause some tough moments during the confirmation process. Senator Chuck Schumer said this nominee will cause division rather than bring our nation together. The nation is already divided and it is time for the conservatives to win one for the Gipper. Thank you President Bush, for a great choice on this one.”

  2. The CEI certainly tries to load a crapload of cookies onto your computer. Assholes.

  3. “Freedom really means living within a set of rules that most people agree upon…”

    In other words, you’re only “free” to do what the government–preferably run by Medieval mentalities in the name of a non-existant supernatural being–tells you to do, huh?

    War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

  4. It’s hard to say what this guy believes, but I’m getting the feeling that he’s conservative in the sense of “Freedom for corporations good, presonal freedom, not so much.”

  5. Number 6,

    In other words, he’s a Republican.

  6. Is this guy related to Jim Swarthout (the real estate guy in Utah with the dobermans) from Fletch?


  7. It’s hard to say what this guy believes, but I’m getting the feeling that he’s conservative in the sense of “Freedom for corporations good, presonal freedom, not so much.”
    Comment by: Number 6 at October 31, 2005 02:07 PM

    Yeah I noticed that too. Whatever happened to the libertarian view that individuals have rights and corporations don’t. Sometimes I think there’s some validity to the LPs adherence to ideological purity when confronted with corporatist “libertarians” like this.

  8. Whatever happened to the libertarian view that individuals have rights and corporations don’t.

    It’s not the only libertarian view.

    Sometimes I think there’s some validity to the LPs adherence to ideological purity

    The only people who care about the LP are the LP. They don’t define libertarianism.

  9. Eric, I guess SPD was correct.

  10. I don’t yet have much of a sense of Alito re personal freedoms. Having looked at a couple of relevant opinions, he reaches reasonable conclusions even if they’re not always my preference. I look forward to seeing more; at least he seems essentially competent and qualified, and not beholden the the Bush clan.

  11. Why can’t they be Christians Reviving America’s Principles, instead? (Or Christians Reviving America’s Values Every November?)

  12. Have the giddy Christian activists seen Alito’s opinion in PP v. Farmer yet?

  13. Religious right loves him. Bush thinks he’s almost as good as Harriet Miers. No, I’m sure of it. I hate him.

  14. There are libertarians at the Competitive Enterprise Institute?

  15. Rimfax,

    How about Fundamentalist Action Group? Because suppressing personal freedoms is the FAG way of doing things.

  16. His ruling in Saxe v. State College Area School District is also a very pro-liberty reading of the First Amendment.

  17. IMO Religious Right hated the Miers nomination because they didn’t have a say in the matter. The message to GWBII seems to be: don’t so much as take a crap without consulting us…

  18. I think Bush learned his lesson that before making any decision, he should ask himself: ‘What would Bill Kristol do?’

  19. “We need to decide whether to keep believing that criminals, terrorists, enemy combatants and illegal aliens have more rights than law abiding citizens who love and respect the American way of life.”

    Jesus! That is lame. What we are really talking about is whether or not one religion has more “rights” than american citizens. I think the founding fathers made that clear enough, that our government does not favor one religion over another. A member of a popular cult is still a cult member. Christianity is a popular, powerful and wealthy cult; not a political party.

  20. Christianity is a popular, powerful and wealthy cult; not a political party.
    Comment by: James smith at October 31, 2005 03:59 PM

    Only if it excludes Catholics, who serve an established foreign nation.

  21. Eric, I guess SPD was correct.

    Charming non-sequitor.

  22. Eric,

    I was curious myself, but I so rarely hear that adjective applied to anything I’ve said that I didn’t want to spoil it. 🙂

  23. SPD: Heh.

  24. Akira MacKenzie:
    You forgot a few: “Poverty is Wealth”; “Property is Theft”

  25. Alito is no libertarian, look at his views on the rights of the accused, search and seizure, etc. Or are corporate rights the only thing libertarians care about.

  26. I don’t know why it has to be explained every time, but judges are not legislators! Even the most libertarian judge in America is bound by law to uphold the Constitution and the precedents of higher courts. True, many justices ignore their obligations, finding “penumbras” and the like to show that the Constitution somehow coincidentally supports whatever it is they believe. But they are not there to overturn bad law.

  27. Christianity is a popular, powerful and wealthy cult; not a political party.
    Comment by: James smith at October 31, 2005 03:59 PM

    Only if it excludes Catholics, who serve an established foreign nation.

    Have a care, heathen! When our Pope’s divisions come pouring at last over your pitifully defended borders, you shall be among the first to be put up against the wall.

    We won’t shoot you, of course, because His Holiness is against the Culture of Death. But it’s a cold, uncomfortable wall.

    And you’ll be forced to say a Rosary or something.

    The Vatican shall be victorious! The time is nearly at hand! Even now our Luxwaffe’s mighty dove-shaped aircraft fill the skies!

  28. Eh, Catholicism is a dying religion. I left it a long time ago. Besides, the Founding Fathers were deists, with no love either for the Papacy or Anglicanism.

  29. Less freedom for people, more freedom for corporations! Superb!

  30. True, many justices ignore their obligations, finding “penumbras” and the like to show that the Constitution somehow coincidentally supports whatever it is they believe.

    True, many commentors ignore the Ninth amendment and the broad discretion it grants to judges in striking down laws.

  31. Well, whatdya know, we’re all libertarians!

    So in other words, if you don’t think corporations are evil and must be destroyed, you aren’t a libertarian.

    Apparently, I’ve been giving you too much credit.

  32. I have a feeling that Alito likes to cozy up next to the social conservatives. Any nominee that is too close to the social conservatives I do not support or even trust. Some these so-called ?strict constitutional judges? (as the Republicans like to call them) that the Republicans like to nominate, legislate from the bench just like a liberal judge. The Republican Party used to be my backup party (with the LP being my primary party), but now I see myself disagreeing with the Republican platform more and more as time passes.

  33. metalgrid-

    Exactly! Every party believes that people should be left alone to do whatever they want as long as they aren’t doing anything bad. So they’re all libertarians of a sort!

    Defining “bad” is where the problem is…

  34. SPD,

    I believe Voltaire said similar things, and he died long before the Fathers founded anything, did he not?

    People have been leaving the Catholic Church in droves for centuries. tbh, I’m glad at this development; the Church’s loss of all its temporal power, along with most of the dead weight of “cultural Catholics”, is the best of all possible worlds. The ossified bureaucracy that made the abuse scandals possible is slowly fading away as the Church transforms into a lean mean evangelizing machine.

  35. crimethink,

    You lost me on the first sentence, but please bear with me.

    If Catholics come evangelizing at my door they’re getting an ass-full of rock salt. Nah, too violent. I’ll just hand them a couple of Jack Chick pamphlets instead.

  36. crimethink,

    Voltaire’s Letters… (by itself out of his entire ouvre) has more wisdom, intelligence, etc. in it than all of writings of every Catholic over the entire Church’s history.

    Voltaire died in 1778. Don’t they teach you people squat these days?

    As to what people believe, well, it seems that a majority of the people are always going to believe in foolish things like gods, the Virgin Mary in the fog of a window, ghosts, alien abductions, etc. Which is fine. I have a live and let live policy. Of course that assumes you heed the sign that says “No Solicitors Motherfucker!” 🙂

  37. “True, many commentors ignore the Ninth amendment and the broad discretion it grants to judges in striking down laws.”

    I sure wish the court would discover that there’s a 9th amendment. It would be a nightmare for the left.

    nmg

  38. Hakluyt,

    As I recall, the Founding Fathers are those responsible for the Constitution, which was not written until 1787, nine years after Voltaire’s death.

    nmg,

    …and a nightmare for the right as well, depending upon the issue.

  39. I sure wish the court would discover that there’s a 9th amendment. It would be a nightmare for the left.

    Really?

    • You have a right to medical care so the government needs to provide it.
    • You have a right to decent housing so we’ll tear down your blighted neighborhood and provide apartments.
    • You have a right to safe neighborhoods so we’ll ban guns.
    • You have a right to surf the Internet without seeing objectionable material, so…

    Be careful what you wish for.

  40. snake – good call.

    scrub brush land for everyone!

    (but this is a hep crowd – fletch is, like, the libertarian bible. you celebrate the guy’s entire collection, or something like that)

  41. And best of all, we all have a right to limit the stupidity we encounter by banning Larry A from the Internet!

  42. i’m so confused.

    i thought the left LOVED the 9th A. it was the basis for griswold and roe, after all, and for bill douglas’s “penumbras and emanations.” they rely on it every time they want some new unenumerated “right” that the rest of us have to pay for.

    i also never heard of libertarians believing corporations have no rights. where did that one come from? we can’t have people forming business entities for the purpose of making profits any more? oh yeah, maybe it has something to do with that wacko-paranoid thing about corporations being evil cuz they are “chartered” by the govt. yeah, screw those corporations, and anyone else who has to obtain a govt license to drive or to practice a profession.

    oh wait, this is hit & run i’m reading. factual accuracy is optional.

  43. “screw those corporations, and anyone else who has to obtain a govt license to drive or to practice a profession”

    Factual accuracy may be optional, but understanding the distinction between a corporate charter and a gov’t license to practice a profession is mandatory if we’re intelligently talking about the kind of distinctions a judge is likely to face.

  44. Eric,
    Next time you brush up on your libertarian credentials, make sure to read the part about concentrations of corporate power and the seperation between government and economy so it doesn’t result in the current climate of corporate cronyism which is the antithesis of a free-market system.

  45. crimethink,

    No, the term “Founding Fathers” refers to everyone from start of the Revolution to 1789, especially those who signed the Dec. of Independence and the Constitution.

  46. Talk Left points to this summary of Judge Alito’s legal career from the Legal Intelligencer:

    After a clerkship with 3rd Circuit Judge Leonard I. Garth, Alito worked as a front-line federal prosecutor in New Jersey for four years. But soon after President Ronald Reagan was elected, Alito joined the Office of the Solicitor General, staying for four years and helping to decide what position the administration would take in cases up for review by the Supreme Court.

    That was followed by a three-year stint at Main Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general. In 1987, at the age of 37, Alito was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a post he held until he was tapped in 1990 by the first President Bush to join the 3rd Circuit.

    Judge Alito’s only client has been the government. That tells me he probably isn’t going to be very libertarian.

  47. i thought the left LOVED the 9th

    Nobody loves the 9th it doesn’t empower.

  48. Hoo boy, here we go again.

    Considering that this gang once had an interminable and inconclusive discussion of when “the ‘Sixties” were — one guy naively assumed it was 1960-1970, while another maintained it was “the cultural period” running from 1965-1975, actual dates be damned — we’re never going to figure out when “the Founding Fathers” were around.

    PS: Hey, Call Me Snake is back!

  49. 1960 is the last year of the ’50s, 1961 is the beginning of the decade. Happy now, Stevo?

  50. The Founding Fathers were people of super-human powers. They wrote a document so awesome, so totally rad, that it means exactly what the reader wants it to mean! The Constitution clearly empowers Congress to do good things and bars the Congress, as well as state and local authorities, from doing bad things. And if there’s ever an ambiguity, the will of these Founders can be divined by a good judge. What’s a good judge? A judge whose interpretation of “good things” and “bad things” matches your own!

    How did the Founders accomplish this miraculous task of creating such a versatile document? By using their super powers to alter the fabric of space-time and create altnerate realities for Americans of every disposition. We all study the Constitution in our own realities, and then come together in this reality to hash it all out.

    OK, seriously, I realize that there is in fact more to the Constitution than just reading whatever you want into it. But people who insist that the whole thing is perfectly simple and unambiguous scare me just as much as those who insist that it can only be understood by consulting Sandra Day O’Connor’s entrails.

    I realize that there will always be ambiguities, so in my ideal world, SCOTUS Justices would have Constitutional philosophies that meet 3 simple criteria:

    1) Their interpretation is informed by history and as respectful of precedent as possible, provided that they don’t violate the next two criteria.
    2) Their interpretation doesn’t use a few passages as blank checks to render the rest of the document meaningless.
    3) When in doubt, defer to state and local authorities over federal authorities, and the rights of the people over the powers of public officials at any level.

    These criteria still leave plenty of room for interpretation, but they should also serve as anchors.

  51. Just wondering, but what’s it going to take to get people to stop sniveling about how I never expected to see action X out of a bunch of Libertarians? I mean, how much arrogance do you have to possess before you can proclaim yourself the Supreme Arbiter of Libertarian Purity? And, more important for my purposes, how long does it take for that kind of self-absorption to reach critical mass and create a black hole? Because some of y’all have got to be pushing it, and I’d like to keep a decent buffer for when it happens.

  52. By the way, I was the Associtate News Editor of the Pitt News during the Pitt News v. Pappert case. Since they would not let us run booze ads, we ran a free listing of drink specials every day.

    Take that, gub’ment!

  53. Shem,

    Not only that, but such people are assuming that everyone here is a libertarian. Thankfully, that is not true — the last thing anyone needs is yet another echo chamber blog.

  54. Stevo Darkly —

    You’ve got it all wrong, man. The Sixties aren’t something you can mark out and define in time and space. The Sixties permeate all existence, making it groovy and cool-like. Open up your mind, man. ~~~~~

  55. Twba,

    Not true. The “xx00s” partition of centuries is not identical to the “xx-th century” partition. For instance, 1899 is in the 19th century and the 1800s; however, 1900 is in the 1900s despite also being the last year of the 19th century.

    Likewise, 1960 was the last year of the sixth decade of the 20th century, but also in the 1960s.

    Of course, all these schemes are artificial and of limited usefulness, since a new decade, century, and milennium begin every second.

  56. “Really?

    * You have a right to medical care so the government needs to provide it.
    * You have a right to decent housing so we’ll tear down your blighted neighborhood and provide apartments.
    * You have a right to safe neighborhoods so we’ll ban guns.
    * You have a right to surf the Internet without seeing objectionable material, so…

    Be careful what you wish for.”

    It’s true that the word “right” can be twisted to mean something different. But abjuring ALL unnamed rights in the fear that a court might start handing out benefits and call them rights is going to far.

    Realistically, the 9th Amendment should be able to cover your right to be free from all kinds of government intrustions that currently exist, and most of those would infuriate the left because many stem from a right to freedom of contract.

    A truly expansive reading of the 9th would actually STRIKE DOWN all the ridiculous benefits and entitlement that are being given out.

    nmg

  57. “The ossified bureaucracy that made the abuse scandals possible is slowly fading away as the Church transforms into a lean mean evangelizing machine.”

    oh man, that was funny.

    dude, that ossified bureaucracy holds more land in new york city than anyone else. that ossified bureaucracy is so fucking rich that it boggles nyu’s mind.

    i don’t see how removing some of their constituency, some of whom have been horrified beyond horrors due to the decades of abuse scandals and slush funds, is going to change their fundamental facts as an organization.

  58. Next time you brush up on your libertarian credentials

    My credentials are fine. Try to keep in mind that you and the LP aren’t issuers of libertarian credentials.

    make sure to read the part about concentrations of corporate power and the seperation between government and economy so it doesn’t result in the current climate of corporate cronyism which is the antithesis of a free-market system.

    I’m guessing that you really think that’s relevant to anything I’ve said. Ah, well. Follow your bliss, man.

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