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A significant credibility gap opened between Samuel Alito's radical judicial record and his self-portrayal as an open-minded jurist before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his second day of testimony. Senators have reason to scrutinize a recent peer evaluation of Alito's rulings by Yale Law School, which locates him somewhere to the ideological right of Antonin Scalia.

On his first day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Samuel Alito was purely political, focusing on his blue-collar roots and the accomplishments of his immigrant family. But Democratic Senators focused on his judicial record on abortion, voting rights and conflicts of interest.

Revelations of the Bush Administration's domestic spying program have sharply shifted the focus of Samuel Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearings from domestic and social issues to executive privilege during times of war. Here's a list of questions Alito should be asked to fully elicit his views on the scope and limits of presidential power.

A deep planetary insecurity has fostered a rush to build boundaries
around ourselves--psychic green zones--no matter how irrational,
separating white from black or brown, Christian from Muslim, European from Arab.

Samuel Alito would swing the Supreme Court to a right-wing authoritarianism that is out of step
with the public and the Constitution.

Congress has passed legislation allowing evidence obtained through torture to be used against terror suspects in court. But human rights groups and some Congressional leaders will fight back in 2006, with court challenges, hearings and tough questions on executive privilege for Samuel Alito and other Bush nominees.

If a society is measured by the treatment of its prisoners, we are in deeper trouble in New Orleans than we realize. The biggest prison crisis since Attica is now unfolding in the devastated city, with inmates jammed into inadequate facilities, often abused and unrepresented by attorneys or advocates.

The lives and deaths of two prisoners intersected this week--Stanley
Tookie Williams and Richard Williams, flawed men whose political
perspectives and pursuit of personal redemption were inspired by
a radical social consciousness.

The outsourcing of torture to other countries is a devilishly clever
legalistic fiction that allows the Bush Administration to
systematically violate basic human rights of terror suspects while
claiming it does not condone or practice torture.

Advocates of Samuel A. Alito's nomination to the US Supreme Court
praise him for "judicial restraint" and "not legislating from the
bench." But the buzzwords conceal a political agenda that would scuttle
precedent, strike down hard-won legislation and render other laws
toothless.

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