Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) dusted off a baseball analogy in his opening remarks at today’s hearing:
We do not evaluate an umpire’s performance based on which team won the game but on how that umpire applied the rules inning after inning. We do not hire umpires by showing them the roster for the upcoming season and demanding to know which teams they will favor before those teams even take the field.
That’s right. The reason why Alito’s nomination is a problem is that, in nearly every call he makes, he always rules for the home team. Knight-Ridder explained:
During his 15 years on the federal bench, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito has worked quietly but resolutely to weave a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation’s laws.
A Knight Ridder review of Alito’s 311 published opinions on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals – each of singular legal or public policy importance – found a clear pattern. Although Alito’s opinions are rarely written with obvious ideology, he’s seldom sided with a criminal defendant, a foreign national facing deportation, an employee alleging discrimination or consumers suing big businesses.
Robert Gordon closely examined Alito’s decision in criminal cases and came to the same conclusion:
In the Washington Post, Cass Sunstein examined Alito’s dissents and found them “almost uniformly conservative.” That’s nearly true for criminal matters””just forget the “almost.”
Even Justice Scalia, on issues like flag burning or the rights of criminal defendants, has ruled with what is traditionally considered the liberal side. There is no sign that Alito takes an open-minded approach to any issue.