Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Steps of analysis

Step 1: Consider the accusation in a statement from People for the American Way.
Alito is a leader of the radical right legal movement to prevent the federal government from enforcing civil rights protections and otherwise acting on behalf of the common good.
Step 2: Seek evidence from liberals who actually know Alito.

Exhibit A.
"To call him 'Scalito' is to completely misunderstand him," said attorney Timothy K. Lewis of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, a former 3rd Circuit judge who was Alito's colleague for seven years.

Lewis, who describes himself as liberal, said Alito is solidly conservative and that the two sometimes disagreed, but that it was "always a deeply respectful disagreement."

"First and foremost," Lewis said, "Sam Alito is intellectually honest. This is what makes him a wonderful judge and also why I feel very good about his appointment to the Supreme Court."
Lewis recalled that when he joined the 3rd Circuit in 1992, he met with the court's former chief judge, A. Leon Higginbotham, to discuss the cast of characters who would soon become his colleagues.

When Alito's name came up, Lewis said, Higginbotham, who died in 1998, had only good things to say. "He said 'Sam Alito is my kind of conservative,'" Lewis said, and went on to describe Alito as “full of integrity” and “a pleasure to sit with.”
Exhibit B.
A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. (1928-1998) was a towering man with a voice like thunder. He articulated the legal experience of black America with scholarship and understanding. He was a successful lawyer, a partner in Philadelphia's premier black law firm during an era when black lawyers were subjected to many inequities. From 1964 to 1977, Higginbotham was a highly respected federal trial judge, and then served sixteen years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, holding the position of chief judge before his retirement in 1993. From 1965 to 1966, he was vice-chairman of the National Commission on the Cause and Prevention of Violence. Higginbotham wrote two scholarly books on law and black citizens, In the Matter of Color and Shades of Freedom. He also taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and at Harvard. In 1995, Higginbotham received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor.
Step 3: Reach the conclusion that the People for the American Way has no credibility.

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