One day after Samuel Alito's official swearing in as the newest Supreme Court Justice, Alito did exactly what Senate Democrats and critics said he would never do, stick up for "the little guy." It was Dana Milbank of the Washington Post who noted that:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), hosting a morning roundtable with reporters, had nothing nice to say about Alito. "We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito. [emphasis mine]
A similar sentiment was echoed over and over during the Alito hearings. "Alito is a man," they kept saying, "who does not care about the 'little guy,'" so to speak. And yet, which way did Alito vote in regards to his first case as a USSC Justice? Read for yourself:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — In his first day on the job, Justice Samuel Alito broke ranks Wednesday night with the Supreme Court's conservatives by refusing to allow Missouri to execute death-row inmate Michael Taylor.
Alito sided with five other liberal and moderate justices in rejecting a second request to allow the state of Missouri to execute Taylor.
The justices voted 6-3 Wednesday night to turn down the last-minute request for a midnight execution. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas supported allowing the execution to proceed.
Now, the tone of most reports made by the media was that Alito had somehow voted to stop the execution. That is not the case. Rather, he voted against the nullification of a lower court decision which put a stay on the execution in the first place.
So, what are the implications of this interesting vote? I have no idea.
But I do know this. If you think that, somehow, Alito is a closet liberal who just outed himself, I think you're in for a big surprise. After 15 years on an Appellate bench, Alito has a very clear track record of judicial conservatism.