In 2000, Judge Samuel Alito authored an opinion in which he concluded that Congress did not have the power to require state employers to comply with the Family Medical Leave Act. This ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003, with a 6-3 margin. Voting in dissent? That's right, everyone's favorite activist justice, Antonin Scalia. Now why should this somewhat arcane labor issue be of interest to me, particularly in light of Alito's involvement in the much more controversial and interesting Casey decision? Well, I am an employee of the state of Washington. Had Alito and Scalia gotten their way, my employers could have denied me leave, and I wouldn't be in the position I am now--able to provide assistance to my disabled sister and brother-in-law while he fights for his life against an aggressive and deadly lymphoma.
I don't know whether Alito is a self-avowed "structuralist" or "textualist" like Antonin Scalia, but as it appears that his rulings follow that mold, it should be noted that these judges have no problem striking down acts of Congress that they don't like. In their view, issues like abortion should be up to a legislature that reflects the popular mandate of the people as the Constitution would dictate. At the same time, they strike down clean air and violence against women laws passed by Congress. Seems kind of arbitrary and not very principled, no?
Anyway, I would rather see a mainstream media organ investigate this apparent contradiction over writing about Alito's congenial personality. Myself and the millions of other Americans who will be affected by this man will never personally meet him; why should we care what he is like?