Testimony of the National Organization for Women on the Nomination of Samuel Alito
Submitted January 18, 2006
On Tuesday, January 24, the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will cast a historic vote to fill the Supreme Court seat currently held by the first woman justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor.
In 1981, NOW testified for the confirmation of Justice O'Connor because, although she was undoubtedly conservative, we believed that she had demonstrated respect for individual rights and equal opportunities. Although we have disagreed many times with her opinions, she has supported our right to be free from harassment at school and discrimination at work, the right to privacy in our homes and our reproductive decisions, the right to an equal education for girls and women, and the value of diversity in our society.
After a thorough examination of his 15-year record on the bench, and 18 hours of committee hearings, NOW is convinced that Samuel Alito would take the Court, and our lives, in a very different direction. For that reason, the National Organization for Women is unequivocally opposed to the confirmation of Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Samuel Alito urged us to determine what kind of Justice he would be by looking at the kind of judge he has been. And in more than 300 decisions, he established a pattern of narrowing many of the civil rights, environmental and employment protections enacted by the Congress, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and laws against sex discrimination and sexual harassment. In his writings, he made it clear that he believes many forms of birth control are "abortifacient," and that he would be a strategic architect of the overturn of Roe v. Wade. In his answers to more than 700 questions, Judge Alito said nothing to assuage our concerns.
What we do know is that he has a consistent record of favoring the rich over the poor, corporate interests over consumers, employers over and employees, and government over the individual—and he reaches for procedural justifications to ensure that the "little person" does not get his or her day in court. He favors establishment of religion, and he opposes affirmative action which has been the vehicle for advancement for multitudes of women and people of color.
Let it be on the record that a confirmation of Samuel Alito will undermine much of the progress for which our nation is justifiably proud - for individual liberty, for civil rights and for women's rights.
The president nominates justices to the Supreme Court and the Senate is charged with a co-equal responsibility to decide whether to consent to those nominees. We call on the 18 members of this committee to take your role in our democratic balance of powers seriously, and not simply rubber-stamp George W. Bush's choice for the High Court.
It is unacceptable for Senators to confirm a judge whose record so clearly shows that he would enshrine a right-wing agenda for generations to come. Samuel Alito is the wrong judge at the wrong time for women and for the country.
Kim Gandy, President
National Organization for Women
1100 H Street NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20005
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