Standing in for Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron, AFJ Legal Director Seth Rosenthal gave the keynote speech in the Yale Political Union’s debate Tuesday night on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito LAW ’75 to the Supreme Court.
Rosenthal said Alito’s confirmation, would dramatically shift the Supreme Court’s balance to the right.
“He has a long, consistent history of decision-making that undermines the Constitution and threatens to upset our fragile system of checks and balances,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal cited study findings that 91 percent of Alito’s dissents reveal a more conservative stance than that of the other conservative judges on the Court of Appeals. He said AFJ research shows that Alito rules in favor of government intrusion over individual rights 82 percent of the time.
Rosenthal pointed to Alito’s dissent in Doe v. Groody — in which Alito wrote that police officers did not violate the Constitution when they strip-searched a mother and her 10-year-old daughter without a warrant — as an example of the nominee’s suggested apathy toward individual rights.
“Issue by issue, Alito has shown that he is in favor of overreaching government and deference to executive authority,” he said.
Students had mixed reactions to Rosenthal’s presentation.
“I’m sold,” said Justin Kosslyn ’09, a member of the Independent Party. “He was a cogent and compelling speaker who firmly supported his arguments with facts, figures and quotes.”
But Tory Party chairman Matthew Grant ’07 said he did not think Rosenthal adequately addressed certain issues.
“He made a pretty good speech and proved Alito’s conservatism, but he didn’t necessarily show how conservatism is grounds for rejection,” he said.
Conservative Party Director of Opposition Christopher Day ’07 said he was disappointed by Rosenthal’s presentation of what he called “misleading” data.
“He purposefully left out significant information and manipulated data that would have otherwise destroyed his argument,” Day said.
YPU Vice President Daniel Thies ’07 said planned speaker Aron could not make it to the debate because she was contacted by Democratic Party members at the last minute to discuss strategy for the coming weeks.