- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2006

But for the seriousness of the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, it would be comical to observe the cries of extremism against Judge Alito from those arguing he would support President Bush in establishing a near monarchy.

Liberal editorialists and politicians have seized on Judge Alito’s alleged expansive view of executive power to oppose his nomination. According to them, Judge Alito would enable the president in his nefarious schemes to torture enemy combatants (and probably domestic liberals) and to incarcerate them indefinitely, and to permit the government unchecked power to spy on American citizens.

How wonderfully serendipitous, given the current flap over the president’s warrantless electronic intercepts of al Qaeda phone calls, that the president’s pick happens to have a paper trail revealing his “dangerous” notions about presidential authority. Why, in the words of columnist Robert Kuttner, “[Alito] would give Bush effective control of all three branches of government and the hard-right long-term dominance of the high court.”

Setting aside the left’s disturbing tendency to sympathize with everything al Qaeda these days, don’t be fooled by all this noise about runaway presidential powers. They only object to executive largess when they don’t control the presidency, which, with any luck, will remain the case for years to come.

Their real concern — and please excuse me for stating the obvious — is abortion rights. If Judge Alito is confirmed, it is actually conceivable the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue abortion’s legality to the states.

Liberals — you know, the people complaining of imperialistic presidential authority — are horrified the court might poke a hole in their glorious precedent establishing a federal constitutional right to abortion.

You see, it is not unchecked governmental power they’re worried about or encroachments on democratic rights — otherwise they, too, would be outraged at the Supreme Court’s disenfranchisement of the states and people on issues like abortion. No, it’s not a matter of how much power any particular branch of government has, but whether it will be used to impose a liberal worldview.

Unless a president is willing to govern like a liberal on most issues, he is a conservative extremist. Unless the court continues usurping the states’ and peoples’ rights and mandate such things as the nationwide legality of abortion and a strict separation of the Christian religion from government, it is a tool of the reactionary right wing.

Indeed, I have decided to renounce my association with mainstream conservatism. After hearing no less an authority than Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, expound on conservative extremism on “Fox News Sunday,” I realized the error of my ways. What was I thinking?

Mrs. Feinstein told Brit Hume, “I think there still is a mainstream conservative movement rather than an activist conservative movement.” And anyone who thinks Roe v. Wade was improperly decided by the Supreme Court is outside the mainstream and worthy of a filibuster.

She then pretended her support of abortion — probably on demand, no less — is based on popular support for the abominable practice. Mrs. Feinstein said: “The American people, according to the latest ABC poll [are] 60 percent supportive of Roe. This is a pivotal question. And he’s in a pivotal spot because of Sandra Day O’Connor’s particular position on the court, where she was dispositive in so many 5-4 votes.”

Does anyone really think Mrs. Feinstein or other left-wingers would do a sudden about-face on abortion if public opinion changed? More to the point, how can anyone take seriously such arguments from people who support a wholly fabricated constitutional “right,” established by judicial fiat, that has taken the issue out of the democratic process?

The left’s idea of an ideologically extreme, democracy-smothering activist is one who might vote to overturn a case born of ideologically extreme, democracy-smothering activism. A justice who would interpret the Constitution according to its plain meaning and the Framers’ original intent is to be damned as an extremist because he would dare to disestablish a “right” crammed down the throats of the states and people by an imperial judiciary.

The left is shameless. It will oppose Judge Alito precisely because he is unwilling to support extraconstitutional power grabs by any branch of government against the constitutional rights of the people. It is not extremism, encroachments on the separation-of-powers doctrine, or infringements on civil or democratic rights they oppose, but those unwilling to engage in those very excesses in furthering an “enlightened,” “progressive” liberal utopia.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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