THE BLOG
10/31/2005 12:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Alito: Hostility To Equality

What's Samuel Alito's trademark? Hostility to equality.

The opinion that people will focus on the most was his desire to uphold a spousal notification provision in a PA abortion law that severely restricted reproductive freedom.

Most will look at his opinion to indicate opposition to Roe, and they should. But fundamentally, it was an opinion that was dismissive of women's independence.

The vast majority of married women already discuss abortion decisions with their husbands, they don't need a law to force them to do so. But there are situations where a married woman would not want to, such as when she is mired in an abusive relationship, or if the marriage is fraying and near its end.

And it is not our government's place to tell a woman what to do in such situations, one way or the other.

As the Supreme Court determined in opposing Alito's view: "For the great many women who are victims of abuse inflicted by their husbands, or whose children are the victims of such abuse, a spousal notice requirement enables the husband to wield an effective veto over his wife's decision."

Alito had callously shrugged off such concerns, saying "The plaintiffs failed to show even roughly how many of the women in this small group would actually be adversely affected...". Classy.

Alito's hostiliy to equality goes beyond that one ruling.

He tried to make it easier for employers accused of sex discrimination to get the cases thrown out, saying that cases don't automatically deserve to go to trial when employers make excuses for discrimination and plaintiffs cast doubt on them.

Similarly, he tried to protect Marriott Hotels when it was found to discriminate against an African-American employee.

The majority said Alito's "position would immunize an employer ... if the employer's belief that it had selected the 'best' candidate, was the result of conscious racial bias."

He sought the deny our democratically elected Congress the authority to have the Family Medical Leave Act apply to state government employees, arguing that there was no discrimination in employers' sick leave policies.

(That's a view that was overruled by the Supreme Court in an opinion written by Rehnquist. Yes, he's to the Right of Rehnquist.)

Perhaps what's most disturbing is his view that girls sexually abused at school by other students cannot take legal action against the school for failing to protect them.

For Sandra Day O'Connor to be replaced by a man who has been defined as "an activist conservatist judge [who] has looked to be creative in his conservatism" will be a huge step backwards.

For the sake of the American ideal of equal protection under the law, bring out the filibuster.