January 19, 2006

Calling Lamar (and Bill)

from - smijer

Judge Alito appears to be well qualified. The Senate now has a responsibility to the American people to give him a fair hearing and a prompt up-or- down vote. -Lamar Alexander, 10/31/2005

Every once and a while, I have to remind myself that just voting and writing a (mostly) political blog really doesn't fulfill the responsibilities of a truly civic minded individual. Since I would like to be that civic minded sort of guy, I took a few moments out of my morning to toss off some corresondence to my two Senators concerning the Alito nomination. I also programmed their telephone numbers into my cell phone, so that when their offices open, I can give them a call (after all, these web-form type e-mails don't get due attention)...

And, it will be easier for future communication to them or Zach W. if I don't have to look up their office numbers... So, maybe I'll do a better job of letting them hear from their constituents... I encourage all you other civic minded individuals to do the same. Most cell phones hold more numbers than geeks like us have friends anyway...

I'm not fooling myself that either of these Tennessee Republicans is non-partisan enough to take the concerns I am addressing to them to heart. But it would be irresponsible to not at least give them a chance to consider their constituent's views. So, here's what I sent to Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander, verbatim:

Dear Senator {Frist, Alexander}

I am writing you as a constituent from Chattanooga,
Tennessee, to express my concerns about the confirmation
of Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While I feel that every nominee to the Supreme is
responsible to show the Senate and the American people
that his or her judicial views are consistent with
American law and the Constitution, and should only be
confirmed after having met a reasonable standard of
evidence to satisfy that condition, I believe this is
especially the case with Samuel Alito.

Make no mistake, I do believe Justice Alito is well
qualified to serve on the Court, in terms of intellect and
experience.

However, in light of the recently discovered actions of
the President with regards to warrantless wire-tapping,
along with the President's long standing policy that, on
the basis of the suspicions in the executive branch,
American citizens can be imprisoned indefinitely without
access to the courts or legal counsel, there is a strong
indication that the President does not respect the
Constitutionally provided separation of powers between the
executive and the judicial and legislative branches. It
would appear that he is making an effort to subsume many
of the responsibilities of the Congress and judiciary
under executive power.

This is very disturbing. And it is in this context that
we must examine his nomination of Samuel Alito to the
Supreme Court. Alito has made many statements in the past
that would indicate he has too much sympathy for the
President's view of executive power, and insufficient
respect for the roles of Congress and the Judiciary.

If confirmed to the Supreme Court, without showing
satisfactorily that he will not serve to undermine our
Constitutional system of checks and balances, the dangers
to our system of government may be drastic. As Al Gore
commented in his Martin Luther King Day speech, a
government of the people rests on a precariously thin
balance, and once forfeited - as was done by executive
overreach in many historical societies of the past - it
can not be regained.

The stakes are too high for the Senate to confirm this
appointment without more adequate assurance that Alito's
presence on the bench will not serve a stealth agenda to
tip the balance of power irrecovably toward a unilaterally
enabled executive.

Because of this, I urge you strongly to oppose Alito's
confirmation. I urge you to work with your colleagues to
bring the Senate to a position of withholding consent for
this nominee. I understand that you feel a simple
majority vote is the Senate's only legitimate tool for
providing advice and consent. I respectfully disagree -
however, if you cannot be persuaded to support a
filibuster on this nominee, I ask you to pursue every
option that you do deem legitimate under the rules of the
Senate toward the end of defeating the nomination.

Gratefully and respectfully yours,
{name omitted}
Chattanooga, TN

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Posted by smijer at January 19, 2006 07:53 AM
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