Shame on Senators Who Support Alito

Bruce S. Gordon, NAACP President & CEO, asked NAACP units in selected states to issue a "Badge of Shame" to senators who said they will vote to cut off debate over the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Eleven senators have been selected for the dubious honor. They are from Louisiana, West Virginia, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Maine, Florida, Nevada and Indiana.

Gordon said: "These are people who claim to support civil rights and social justice in this country, but are prepared to cut off debate on the nomination of a judge who has a clear track record opposed to underlying principles of the civil rights movement. Shame on those who are unwilling to match their words with their deeds and take the right steps when we need them the most. Shame on those who pass on the opportunity to demonstrate courage and commitment instead of comfort and convenience.

The NAACP has urged the Senate to oppose Alito's nomination by using all available legislative tactics, including the filibuster. "A vote to stop the debate on Alito's nomination is a vote for the nominee," said Gordon.

Senators awarded the "Badge of Shame" include: Mary Landrieu (D., La), Arlen Specter (R., Pa), Rick Santorum (R., Pa), John Ensign (R., Nev.), Benjamin Nelson (D., Neb.), David Vitter (R., La.), Olympia Snowe (R., Maine), Susan Collins (R., Maine), Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.), Robert Byrd (D., W.V.) and Richard Lugar (R., Ind.). Additional senators might be given the "Badge of Shame" as debate over Alito continues.

The following overview justifies why the NAACP opposes Alito's nomination:

  • Alito co-authored briefs during the Reagan administration that attacked affirmative action. Alito once wrote that he was "particularly proud" of his role in helping the government in its assault on affirmative action;
  • In a 1985 job application for a position with the Reagan Administration, Alito disagreed in writing with the Warren Court's reapportionment decisions now known as "one man, one vote", which are among the Court's most widely accepted decisions on civil rights and equal representation. The "one man, one vote" theory is also one of the basic tenets of voting rights for which the NAACP fought;
  • In the 1993 case, Grant v. Shalala, Alito ruled against a class action case alleging racial and other bias by an administrative law judge when determining Social Security benefits, arguing that the Court of Appeals lacked the authority to conduct a trial and make independent findings on actions taken by an Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Agency;
  • In the 1997 case, Bray v. Marriot Hotels, Alito strongly dissented from a 3rd Circuit ruling and made it clear that he supported impossibly high barriers for victims of discrimination to have their cases heard;
  • In a separate 1997 case, Riley v. Taylor, Alito held that a prosecutor was not motivated by race in striking all African Americans from the jury of a death penalty case involving an African American defendant. When the defense produced statistical evidence showing the prosecution repeatedly disqualified African Americans from juries, Alito contended that this was irrelevant and likened it to a study showing that a disproportionate number of recent Presidents have been left-handed;
    In 2000, Alito voted to uphold an anti-affirmative action decision of a lower court;

  • In a 2004 case, Doe v. Grody, Alito dissented from a ruling against police officers who had strip-searched a woman and her 10-year-old daughter while executing a search warrant authorizing the search of her husband and their home.

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