Senators do their duty 

By the time Arkansas’s two senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, announced their opposition to Samuel Alito last week, it had become apparent that Alito would be confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court. They were losers, in a sense.

But the Supreme Court is not a football field, where only the scoreboard matters. It’s important that Supreme Court justices and senators who vote on them be on the side of justice, even if the side of justice is the losing side, at least temporarily. Morality counts, and moral victories are better than no victory at all.

In her announcement of opposition, Senator Lincoln smartly summed up the reasons why Alito is not fit for a seat on the nation’s highest court: “After thoroughly reviewing Judge Alito’s record during his time on the federal bench, I am left with grave and serious concerns about his views on the power and scope of Executive Branch authority, discrimination against parents in the workplace, his general disposition toward cases involving civil rights, and his views on the scope of voter rights.”

“At a time when many Arkansans have expressed concerns over the President’s legal authority to eavesdrop on Americans without court supervision and detain U.S. citizens without judicial review or due process, I cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who has repeatedly failed to uphold reasonable limits of presidential authority at the expense of constitutional liberties,” Lincoln said. Regarding discrimination in the workplace, “Judge Alito has consistently set an unfairly high burden of proof in discrimination cases leading him to rule consistently against Americans who are merely attempting to assert their basic constitutional rights.” As for voter rights, Alito has said he disagrees with “one person, one vote,” the landmark Supreme Court ruling that ensures “everyone’s vote would be weighted equally, regardless of an individual’s economic background, their address, or the color of their skin.” Lincoln’s statement did not specifically mention abortion rights, which she supports and Alito opposes, but she said later that she included abortion rights among the civil rights she said Alito had been unsympathetic to.

Pryor made one point: “While trying to give deference to the President, I cannot ignore that Judge Alito’s record demonstrates his tendency to legislate from the bench.”

Alito is a devout right-winger, more interested in ideology than justice. Ronald Reagan began appointing his sort to the federal bench in the ’80s, part of the Reagan Revolution, and every Republican president since has continued the practice. That Alito is joining a court that already has extremists like Scalia and Thomas as members is more than a little chilling. That Arkansas’s senators did not go along is some comfort. We’ll need freedom-defending legislators more than ever now.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Mike Huckabee predicts Donald Trump victory

    For the record, Mike Huckabee predicts election victory for Donald Trump. This followed another poor debate performance for Trump.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • Arkansas unemployment rate rises in September

    The Arkansas unemployment rate in September moved up to 4 percent from 3.9 percent the month before, with an overall drop in workforce.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • The push for medical marijuana begins

    Advertising has begun for Issue 6, the constitutional amendment to allow sale of medically prescribed marijuana through for-profit dispensaries regulated by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
    • Oct 21, 2016
  • More »

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Most Shared

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • The big loser

    So now the big crybaby says he's losing because his opponent is crooked and the referees are blind.
  • Arkansas 2016: the microclimate election

    In the lead-up to the past four Arkansas election cycles, the forecast has been a fairly simple one: strong winds blowing in the GOP direction.
  • Trumped in Arkansas

    After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The big loser

    • Investigator of both sides really ought to investigate both sides. It is an easy thing…

    • on October 21, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

    • Upon further investigation: the victim (of course) never knew about Clinton's affidavit, which was denied…

    • on October 20, 2016
  • Re: The big loser


© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation