Thursday, February 02, 2006

Grasping at Straws

Reuters gleefully reports this morning that Samuel Alito might be a liberal! Or at least that's how I take the following:
"New Supreme Court JusticeSamuel Alito broke ranks (emphasis supplied) with the court's conservatives late on Wednesday, refusing to allow Missouri to execute a man convicted of kidnapping and killing a Kansas City teenager 17 years ago, CNN reported.

Alito sided with the majority in a 6-3 vote rejecting a last minute request to allow Missouri to carry out the execution of Michael Taylor, 39, by lethal injection at midnight, CNN said."

Come on. Now, I don't know the details of the case, but this decision can hardly be seen as "breaking ranks" with the conservative justices. My impression is that Justice Alito probably took the prudent course here for someone who also doesn't know the full details of the case. You can always lift the stay of execution later if the merits of the case so warrant. However, you cannot undo an execution. My gut tells me that Justice Alito probably preferred to evaluate the case on the merits, when he had the benefit of time to study it, along with a full complement of law clerks to assist him, neither of which I'm sure he has had after 1 full day on the Court.

In other words: I'm going to cut him a little slack on this one.

Nice try, Reuters and CNN.
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