Alito is a smart, experienced and knowledgeable jurist. I have no doubt of his legal ability. On balance, the Senate should give more weight to excellence than judicial philosophy.
Given the times in which we live, we need and deserve a Supreme Court willing to examine independently these extraordinary assertions of executive authority. We can fight and win the war on terrorism without inflicting upon ourselves and our posterity another regrettable episode like the Red Scare and the Japanese internment. But that will happen only if the justices of the Supreme Court are willing to fulfill their essential role in our constitutional system.
Whatever else Alito may or may not have made clear about his views on such issues as abortion, federalism and religious freedom, he has certainly made clear that he has no interest in restraining the acts of this commander in chief. That, in my judgment, poses a serious threat to the nation and is a more than adequate reason for the Senate--Republicans and Democrats alike--to deny his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
A "serious threat to the nation."
Serious! Threat! To the nation! Call Homeland Security: we found a terrorist and his name is Sam Alito!
The sad thing is it's probably true: Alito probably is a serious threat to the nation. Forget abortion, who cares. Alito has made it clear that he wants to make the presidency an unrestrained dictatorship. Our Diebold democracy will become, if it hasn't already, a farce and the laughingstock of the developed world.
Stone is a law professor at the University of Chicago and the author of "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism."