Conservatives began airing two ads this week aimed at rallying support for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. during the holiday season.
Committee for Justice, the group leading the fight to confirm President Bush’s judicial nominees, and the conservative Catholic group Fidelis are running ads on the radio and the Internet.
“This season is a special time when many Americans commemorate our Judeo-Christian roots,” said Fidelis President Joseph Cella, whose organization is running an Internet ad that it says will air later on radio. “So, while we prepare for our celebrations and give thanks for our treasured religious freedom, we unfortunately have to prepare for those freedoms to be attacked by the ACLU and their allies. These same allies are fighting to topple the nomination of Judge Alito.”
Mr. Cella accused the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal organizations of attacking judicial nominees such as Judge Alito “over their ‘deeply held’ Catholic and Christian beliefs.”
The ad focuses on Judge Alito’s 1999 decision in ACLU v. Schundler in which the ACLU petitioned that the Jersey City, N.J., city hall be barred from displaying its Christian Nativity scene alongside a Jewish menorah. The group said the display violated the First Amendment’s bar on an establishment of religion.
“Judge Alito ruled against the ACLU’s attempt to scrub away our religious heritage,” says the ad, referring to his decision to allow the holiday displays to remain. “Judge Alito used common sense and applied the law — the kind of common sense that every American needs on the Supreme Court.”
Committee for Justice also began airing in Colorado, Wisconsin and West Virginia its second ad on the Alito nomination, titled “Religious Freedom.”
“It’s the season when Americans celebrate our traditions of faith, and once again religious freedom is under assault,” the announcer says. The ad then lists liberal groups that have opposed religious displays in public and worked to keep Christmas carols out of public schools.
“Some courts and judges have supported this radical agenda, but not Judge Sam Alito, President Bush’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court,” concludes the ad, which will run more than 2,000 times on 108 stations. “Throughout his career, Judge Alito has consistently upheld the Constitution’s protection of free religious expression.”
Meanwhile, Ralph G. Neas, president of the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way, told reporters yesterday that the Alito nomination was in “trouble.”
“The Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito has been battered by a series of revelations that have confirmed, in Alito’s own words, what his record already showed: Alito has for years sought to advance a legal and judicial philosophy that could dramatically weaken Americans’ rights and legal protections if he were confirmed to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court,” Mr. Neas wrote in a mass e-mail.
“Both before joining the bench and as a judge, Alito has advanced a damaging legal and political agenda,” he said. “He has sought to undermine civil rights protections, eliminate constitutional protections for reproductive choice, limit individual Americans’ access to the courts, weaken the courts’ crucial oversight role over executive and legislative branch actions that threaten civil liberties, and more.”