I hate to say, “I told you so,” but let me just say one name to you: Sam Alito.
When he was nominated by Bush last year to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, practically the entire debate over this right-wing judge revolved around his stance on abortion. So, Alito and his backers worked hard to soften his record as a knee-jerk, anti-choice zealot. Enough senate Democrats and moderate Republicans were convinced, and he was confirmed.
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A few of us populists, however, tried to point out that the supreme court spends far more time on issues involving worker rights, pollution, consumers, and such than on abortion. We warned that Alito had sided consistently with corporate and governmental elites over ordinary citizens on these issues throughout his legal career – and would do the same on the high court.
Sure enough, in his first opportunity to side with bosses over the First Amendment rights of workers, Alito jumped on it. In a May 30th decision involving a whistleblower, a bare 5-4 majority of the court ruled that public employees have no free-speech right to blow the whistle against wrongdoing by their superiors – and they have no constitutional protection against retaliation by their bosses.
The deciding vote came from Alito. Had Sandra Day O’Connor still been on the bench, it’s likely that the court would have ruled the other way – for the rights of whistleblowers.
Unfortunately, we’re now stuck with this guy for life! The lesson here – especially for Democrats – is that future nominees to all of our courts need to be vetted not only on social issues, but also grilled equally hard on whose interest they’ll serve on the economic, environmental, and civil liberties cases that come before them.
This is Jim Hightower saying… To learn more about this particular case, call the National Whistleblower Center: 202-342-1902.