January 20, 2006

Wyden To Oppose Nomination Of Judge Samuel Alito To The U.S. Supreme Court

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the following statement today announcing that he will vote against the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court when it comes to the floor of the Senate:"After days of hearings before the Senate and a meeting this week in my office with Judge Alito, I cannot reconcile the seemingly moderate and amiable jurist of the past few weeks with his two decade record of federal service. At this time when the country so desperately needs a judge who will approach issues with a sense of neutrality, Judge Alito leaves me unconvinced that he will bring an impartial viewpoint to the nation's highest court."In my lifetime, it has never been more critical for a President to select a nominee to the Supreme Court who possesses the desire and inclination to transcend personal beliefs, to approach issues with legal neutrality, and to heal the wounds that cut our society so deeply. The departing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor possesses these skills; Judge Alito's record strongly suggests that he does not. If appointed to the Court, I fear that Judge Alito's beliefs will color his approach and pre-ordain his outcomes on a variety of critical issues certain to come before the Court in the coming years. These decisions would only accelerate the growing polarization that America faces today - between red and blue states, between the affluent and the poor, and between races and religions."I met with Judge Alito on Wednesday and found him to be very amiable and of the highest intellect. We discussed a variety of issues, including the scope of executive power, the recent NSA wiretapping revelations, the role of legal precedent, end of life care, and the constitutionality of presidential signing statements. Since that meeting, my staff and I have reviewed his responses in the context of his ample record on the federal bench and in the Executive Branch. It is my conclusion that Judge Alito's record portends a view on the power of the President that would undermine our proven and constitutionally-mandated system of checks and balances. His measurable record and answers to my questions suggest that, on the question of a woman's right to choose, he will have an open mind only with respect to the degree to which he is willing to recognize more than three decades of precedent. His record demonstrates a dangerous and narrow interpretation of the Commerce Clause, which could lead to results that would threaten the health and safety of all Americans. And his record of standing with large, corporate polluters who fouled our air, poisoned our waters, and then don't want to pay for it could be disastrous for generations to come."Ultimately, it is Judge Alito's record that leaves me convinced that he has pre-judged many of the matters that would come before him on the court. It is with a heavy heart that I arrive at this conclusion. I believe that a President is due considerable latitude to select nominees of his or her own political party and ideology, but I will not vote to confirm a judge whom I believe incapable or unlikely to separate those personal beliefs from his constitutional obligations."