Cragg Hines isn't a fan of Judge Alito

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Matt Bramanti points out today’s Cragg Hines column on Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito:

Cragg Hines

IF you like machine guns, you’ll love Sam Alito.


Alito, a rock star to conservatives who scuttled Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers, is so in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia, Bush’s archetype of a supposedly strict-constructionist justice, that he’s known as “Scalito” — little Scalia or Scalia lite.

But Alito need take a back seat to no one when it comes to hard-right jurisprudence.


Just as in the machine-gun case, Alito was the lone way-out-there voice on an important point in an already bad 3rd Circuit opinion that Alito would have made even worse.

In upholding a restrictive Pennsylvania abortion law in 1991, even the increasingly conservative 3rd Circuit refused to go along with one of the legislatively approved provisions: to require a woman to notify her spouse, in almost all instances, before an abortion. To emphasize his position, Alito wrote a dissent to spell out his approval of the spousal-notice section.

The Supreme Court said on review that the provision would impermissibly give a man “the kind of dominion over his wife that parents exercise over their children.”

So, all you women who want to be ordered about like the kids, sit down right now and urge your senator to get aboard the Alito bandwagon.

Egads! Lock up the kids and pets!

Back when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court, Hines was a Chron DC bureau reporter and (you’ll be so surprised to learn) he wrote a glowing story about her nomination:

President Clinton on Monday nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg , a pivotal centrist on the federal appeals court here for the past decade and before that a leading women’s rights litigator, to be an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Clinton, with Ginsburg at his side for the announcement in the Rose Garden of the White House, praised her as “progressive in outlook, wise in judgment, balanced and fair in her opinions.”


In his announcement, Clinton praised Ginsburg ‘s effort to bridge the ideological chasm that often splits open the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, generally considered second only to the Supreme Court in national legal prominence.

“Time and again, her moral imagination has cooled the fires of her colleagues’ discord, ensuring that the right of jurists to dissent ennobles the law without entangling the court,” Clinton said.


The president was moved to tears as Ginsburg described her career and family, concluding with a paean to her mother who died after a four-year bout with cancer when Ginsburg was a teen-ager.

It would be nice to get an answer to one of the questions Bramanti keeps trying to get Jeff Cohen to address: Why doesn’t the Chronicle have an on-staff conservative columnist?

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.