Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Lot o' Alito

The President's Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito has been troubling me for a few days now. You will notice that I did not immediately write a post on him. The reasons for my delay are three:

1) Cute toddler girl requiring care, feeding, love and attention rather than watching TV while I research some judge online.

2) Trying to think of pseudo-creative title for the post using a wordplay on "Alito." Cheeto? Bandito? Jermaine-and-Tito?

3) Something about him was bothering me and I couldn't put it together into a cohesive and meaningful statement until...

well, until I read it already written by someone far superior to myself in both research and writing.

Here is a fabulous article from Slate that essentially sums up all of the "ick factor" I feel about Alito's views on Choice. The article is called Right to Wife, and it discusses Alito's dissent in a 14-year old case known as Casey where he voted to impose criminal sanctions on women who had abortions without informing their husbands.

Yeah. You read that right. This man believes that an adult woman should face criminal sanctions if she does something to her own body without her husband's permission. So--will the husband go to jail for getting a vasectomy without his wife's permission? What if he doesn't like her taking contraception? Does he get to be her parent on that topic too?

In what alternate dimension of the United States are we living where a grown adult woman has to ask her husband's permission to undergo a medical procedure?! Sure it's optimal if they are both in agreement on these things. Sure it would be better if they discussed it. But for a party who is all about keeping the government off my back, it sure is interesting that they'd nominate a guy who wants the government mediating marital relationships and medical procedures. What a curious contradiction--and what a reprehensibly paleolithic view of a woman's human rights--to promote in the United States in 2005.

Right to Wife


G's Pop said...

E, you've made an unfortunate leap from properly characterizing the statute under review in Casey as requiring spousal notification to erroneously characterizing it as requiring spousal consent. Huge difference. Now you and I, as citizens, may question the wisdom of such a notification statute (e.g., if the state of marital bliss is such that the wife opts not to discuss her abortion decision with her spouse, then what good will mandated notification do?), but the jurist's job is to determine the constitutionality, not the wisdom, of the statute in question. Somehow a conclusion that a notification statue is not unconstitutional doesn't seem to be cause for handwringing and hairpulling.

redsoxnationbaby said...

My comment is somewhat less educated than the previous one:

Jermaine-and-Tito!! LOL!

Raine said...

Translating (Legal Jargon to Plain English)


E, you've jumped to conclusions and have confused a statute requiring spousal notification for one requiring spousal consent. Finding a statute requiring spousal notification as being constitutional doesn't seem to be cause for concern.

An exercise in verbosity at its finest. But why would it be mandatory to "notify" a spouse before a medical operation? How is it constitutional to force someone to notify their spouse before an abortion? Would I have to notify my (theoretical) wife if I wanted to have leg surgury done? Or what about E's example of a viscectomy?

Hmm, it seems that the case of Casey shows the seams between the word of the law and the spirit of the law coming apart.