Saturday, November 05, 2005

Big Business "Happy to see Judge Alito"

While the Washington Post reporters write today about how "Senators Praise Nominee's Candor," and "Alito is Called 'Sensitive' to Executive Power" (whatever that means), the New York Times zeros in on the meat of the problem, writing of how Alito has "reliably favored big-business litigants" and how "with few exceptions, he has sided with employers over employees in discrimination lawsuits and in favor of corporations over investors in securities fraud cases."
It is such business cases, which arise far more often than privacy and abortion cases, that are the bread and butter of the appeals courts and the Supreme Court. And, according to his supporters and detractors, it is where Judge Alito has left his mark in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Judge Alito's record in business cases presents some political strengths and weaknesses as he heads into his confirmation hearing, scheduled to begin Jan. 9. Major business groups are preparing to spend millions of dollars to lobby on his behalf, and may help him with pivotal Democrats. Liberal groups, meanwhile, have begun to cite his record to make the case that he is insensitive to the plight of minorities and the environment.

The judge's reputation over the last 15 years was such that corporate lawyers relished the prospect of his participation in cases, while plaintiff's lawyers hoped to avoid him.

"We're always happy to see Judge Alito on the panel," said Robert C. Heim, the head of the litigation department at Dechert, a large law firm based in Philadelphia that represents some of the nation's largest corporations, typically facing accusations of antitrust, securities or corporate law violations.
Oh goody.

Meanwhile, on NPR Weekend Edition this morning, University of Chicago Professor Cass Sunstein expanded a bit on why corporate America is so happy. Regarding Alito's dissent from a decision allowing Congress could pass a law restricting the sale of machine guns, Sunstein called it
A very big deal, much of what Congress does with respect to the environment and civil rights and a lot more,it does under the commerce clause What Judge Alito says in this dissenting opinion. was that the possession of machine guns wasn't something that Congress could reach under the commerce clause That opinion does signal that unlike Justice O'connor, ...he will be interested... in resricttng congress's power under the commerce clause in a way that could have serious implications for the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. .

We're in the midst of a minor and quiet revolution in which the Supreme Court has, for the 1st time in many decades been striking down acts of Congress under the commerce clause and its r

It is reasonable to say, not that Alito will be a "firebrand" or lawless, but that he will be "interested" in attacks on laws that are apparently beyond Congress's power under the commerce clause.
And I thought they were opposed to judical activism. I guess overturning long established laws and protections doesn't count as activism.

Silly me.