A Liberal Perspective on the Alito Nomination

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Steve Inskeep talks with Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Law Center, for a liberal perspective on the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito.


On the left, Marcia Greenberger is co-president of the National Women's Law Center and we called her as well. Her Washington group lobbies for women's legal rights on issues like abortion and discrimination and Greenberger interprets Jay Sekulow's grand slam analogy another way.

Ms. MARCIA GREENBERGER (National Women's Law Center): To him, he has a batter that's hitting home a series of women's and Americans' civil rights and constitutional rights that will be overturned. And what I heard Jay Sekulow say is that he has total confidence that Judge Alito will be like Thomas and Scalia and Rehnquist on Roe v. Wade. Their position was Roe v. Wade should be overturned. That he will be like Thomas and Scalia on employment discrimination and, in fact, he does have a very extensive record and a part of that record was his standing out in key dissent that would have undermined women's rights in the workplace, and rights against employment discrimination including retaliation, refusal to promote women, which means lower pay.

INSKEEP: I want to ask how you go about fighting this nomination. Do you begin by urging Democrats to filibuster this nomination? Since they're in the minority, that's the main way they can stop them, or is there some step before that?

Ms. GREENBERGER: I think the most important thing is to look at the very record that Jay Sekulow is touting. And I think the American public will be very upset when they see a record that says Congress doesn't have the authority even to pass laws that protect Americans in the Family Medical Leave Act in key respects, that Congress doesn't have the authority to protect women and their families against machine guns. This is in Judge Alito's record. So the first step is to make sure the American public knows about Judge Alito. The second step is to make sure that the American public understands this is for the O'Connor seat, and she had, after all, the swing vote. And because of her vote, we have key rights such as these hanging by a thread with five-four majorities. Judge Alito could provide the fifth vote that would swing all of those rights and take them away and we will have a very different notion, a much more narrow notion of what our constitutional rights are, I'm afraid.

INSKEEP: That's a sampling of what we're hearing on the left this morning. That comes from Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center. Earlier we heard from Jay Sekulow, who is with a conservative group.

Now some senators who will have a direct vote on the nomination are making some comments this morning. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican, said Judge Alito is unquestionably qualified to serve on our nation's highest court, emphasizing his long record in the judiciary. And this from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat. He said conservative activists forced Harriet Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same seat because, in Reid's words, `she was not radical enough for them.' Now, he says, the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.

We will have more reaction on NPR from both sides, from the many sides really, throughout the day.

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