During his broadcast today, Focus on the Family founder and president James Dobson promoted his organization's annual ex-gay conference, Love Won Out, in which gays and their families are told that homosexuality is "preventable and treatable." Then, he presented evidence that "the pendulum is swinging back," informing his listeners that he had just received a thank you note from new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Dobson praised his listeners for helping to seat John Roberts and Alito in time for a partial-birth abortion case ("in this case, [your activism] absolutely affected history," he told his audience).
Not only is it unprecedented for a Supreme Court justice to send a thank you note to an interest group, it is highly unethical. Alito has admitted that he owes his job to a man who told his listeners today to "please be in prayer that by the time that probition on abortion reaches the Supreme Court, there will be one more conservative justice sitting there." From now on, plaintiffs and defendants in cases dealing with issues from abortion to gay rights to school prayer should demand that Alito recuse himself. Alito is deeply embedded in the pocket of the Christian right and perhaps more compromised than anyone could have imagined.
Here is the text of Alito's letter to Dobson, which Dobson read on air:
Dear Dr. Dobson:
This is just a short note to express my heartfelt thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and support during the past few challenging months.
I would also greatly appreciate it if you would convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and for my family during this period.
As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and powerful force.
As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.
I hope that we'll have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future.
In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have done.