Saturday, November 05, 2005

So the "judge"is not unbiased

Not that it comes as any surprise, but "Judge" Alito doesn't like the common man, be it the laborer, the consumer, or the shareholder:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 - Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has reliably favored big-business litigants as he has pushed the federal appeals court in Philadelphia in a conservative direction.

His extensive paper trail of 15 years of opinions reveals a jurist deeply skeptical of claims against large corporations. A review of dozens of business cases in which Judge Alito has written majority or dissenting opinions or cast the decisive vote shows that, with few exceptions, he has sided with employers over employees in discrimination lawsuits and in favor of corporations over investors in securities fraud cases.

Judge Alito, President Bush's choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, cast the decisive vote in a case involving a major steel company, and in another involving a large chemical maker, over environmentalists in pollution cases.

He has set aside punitive damages in some cases and reduced them in others; has handed down dissents that, if they became law, would impose higher burdens for workers to successfully sue their employers for discrimination; and has routinely upheld restrictive arbitration clauses that have limited the remedies available to plaintiffs. (In a rare instance of setting aside an arbitration decision, he reversed an arbitration panel that had ordered the reinstatement of an intoxicated seaman on a moored oil tanker against the wishes of his employer, Exxon.)

In several cases, Judge Alito has found for the defendants facing accusations of antitrust violations, including one case in which he twice found in favor of a monopolist, 3M. (In that case, LePage's v. 3M, his view was rejected by a vote of 7-to-3 by the full circuit.) And by articulating a narrow view of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, he is viewed as a judge who would be skeptical of the involvement of federal regulators in matters he views to be strictly within the province of state officials.

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.

And that, folks is where the rubber hits the road.

What we have to do is to remove the legal abomination that equates corporations to people.

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