The Corner

Alito and The Ted Kennedy “Study”

In his opening statement at the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings Monday afternoon, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy cited an academic study which he said showed that average Americans “have had a hard time getting a fair shake” in Alito’s courtroom at the U.S. Court of Appeals. Alito’s decisions in the cases of individual rights, Kennedy said, are part of a “record that troubles me deeply.”

“In an era when too many Americans are losing their jobs, or working for less and trying to make ends meet, in close cases Judge Alito has ruled the vast majority of the time against the claims of individual citizens,” Kennedy said. “He has acted instead in favor of the government, large corporations, and other powerful interests. In a study by a well-respected expert, Professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School, Judge Alito was found to rule against the individual in 84 percent of his dissents. To put it plainly, average Americans have had a hard time getting a fair shake in his courtroom.”

As evidence for his claim, Kennedy’s staff handed out copies of a December 29, 2005, letter from Sunstein to Kennedy outlining the findings of the study to members of the press at the hearings. But even a cursory reading of the Sunstein letter suggests that his analysis was so tentative, so filled with caveats, and based so extensively on political assumptions as to prove virtually nothing…

[READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.]

Byron York — Byron York is is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

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