Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Patty Murray: ''Just Say No to Alito'' (UPDATED)

I'm listening to the Senate session and Patty is now telling us why she's against Alito. I will post text of her message, as it becomes available.

Update: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said Wednesday she will oppose Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, saying he did not show he will be an independent judge who will uphold the rights and liberties of all Americans.

"With our rights and freedoms on the line, I will not take a chance on Judge Alito because I have serious questions about his independence and commitment to protecting our rights and liberties," Murray said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Murray, a liberal, voted in favor of Chief Justice John Roberts last fall, describing her vote as one of hope over fear.

"Judge Alito, through his writings, rulings and non-answers, does not inspire confidence in me that he will protect all our rights," Murray said. "Because so much is on the line ... I will respectfully vote against his confirmation to the Supreme Court."

Murray called Alito's record troubling, saying he had a history of "voting for the government and corporations and against individuals."

Alito, a veteran appeals court judge from New Jersey, "seems to favor the entrenched power over the little guy," Murray said. "His record does not give me the confidence that everyone who comes before the court will be treated fairly."

Murray, an abortion rights supporter, said she had serious doubts whether Alito would uphold the right to privacy, noting that Alito refused to say during his confirmation hearings that Roe v. Wade is "settled law."

She also said Alito did not adequately explain his 1985 statement, in a job application to the Reagan administration, that the "Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Murray said she was troubled that conservative Republicans cheered when Alito was nominated to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, following the withdrawal of White House counsel Harriet Miers last October.

"If the right wing is so confident he will vote their way, how can we be confident that he will put the country's needs first?" Murray asked.

Murray's announcement came as Alito moved toward confirmation on a largely party-line vote. With support from 51 Republicans and Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Alito has enough votes to ensure his confirmation by the 100-member Senate.

Senators are expected to make that official before President Bush gives his State of the Union speech next Tuesday.

Washington's other Democratic senator, Maria Cantwell, has not announced how she will vote on Alito's nomination. Cantwell voted against Roberts"-from the AP story.

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