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The plea that fell upon deaf ears... My Letter to Senator Byrd
Dear Senator Byrd,
I write to you today with the hope of persuading you to change your vote on Samuel Alito. Senator, I know you’ve made your stance on the matter clear, but I find it troubling that you would overlook the threat this nominee holds for two things you hold so dear: - the safety of the people of West Virginia, and the sanctity of the United States Constitution.
In the wake of the Sago Mine tragedy, it surprises me that you would throw your support to a judge who continues to side with a business’ profit over safety of the workers time and time again. Mr. Alito’s record indicates a bias against working families and appears hostile even to the basic right of workers to have a day in court, not to mention interpreting the law against them. Endorsing this nomination is a slap in the face to the labor unions and working families who have passionately supported you in the past.
As a staunch supporter of a Unitary Executive, Samuel Alito poses a threat to the Constitution of the United States. Our government was purposely created with power split between three branches, not concentrated in one. Separation of powers is the foundation of our system, but with Unitary Executive proponents like Alito on the bench, our system of checks and balances will be a thing of the past. This President has already circumvented the congress to spy on US citizens, and with his use of signing statements, can invoke loop holes and posture legislation any way necessary to fit his agenda. By stacking the Supreme Court with judges like Alito, you encourage the President to continue his overreach of power.
James Madison wrote in The Federalist Papers, No. 47, that:
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.“
It’s troubling to see the balance of power in this country tipped so severely to one party. I worry that, with the GOP’s willingness to breach ethics and defy principles and their propensity to give the President anything he wants regardless of the ramifications to our children’s future, we are in danger of taking this country down an irreversible path. Recent history has accentuated the GOP’s indifference to the laws of this country, and when we place Judges like Alito on the bench who’ll continue to allow Bush to ignore and evade laws, then to whom does law apply?
Thomas Paine wrote in Common Sense:
“In America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.“
Some would have you believe that 200 years is a pretty good run for a constitution, but 9/11 changed everything and our safety is at stake. Some would have you believe that in a time of war, we need to make sacrifices, but I ask you, Senator, at what point will we stop being frightened into submission? Will it be before or after we’ve traded our democracy for the myth of security?
I know you’ve been asked by many of your constituents to confirm Samuel Alito and I know that, being a man of principal, the wishes of your constituents are important to you, but Senator, do you honestly think that if they knew what a threat this nominee was to their rights and civil liberties they would want Alito anywhere near the Supreme Court? You know as well as I do that the media has been under reporting the unflattering details of this nominee, and you know that your constituents aren’t privy to the same information you are. These people trust you, Sir, to look out for their best interest and do what’s right for their state and their country. While it may not be a popular decision right now, we both know that when they look back at this point in history, they’ll see that voting “NO” on Alito was truly in their best interest.
Yes, I realize the Republicans are putting a full-court press of propaganda on you in this Senatorial campaign. Yes, I know they’ll call you flip-flopper and demonize you for being partisan – but Senator, the Republicans are the ones who have made the Alito vote a partisan issue. When it comes to the sanctity of the United States Constitution every Senator should be concerned… but the Republicans are once again making this an issue of loyalty to Party over Country.
Senator Byrd, please take the copy of the constitution out of your pocket and read the words… read the truths that we hold so evident. Think of those patriots who died to keep this document the basis of our American Identity and think of those who will be harmed should the powers outlined in this document ever be altered. Think of your constituents and remember those who already have been devastated by the blatant misuse of power by this Administration. Think of the mine workers who have perished due to busted worker’s unions and lax corporate penalties for safety violations. Think of those workers who have lost their jobs, and their pensions and are struggling to put food on the table. Think of the sons and daughters your state has lost due to a war based on lies – a war that was poorly planned and seems to have no end. Think of the monstrous debt the children of West Virginia are going to inherit. Senator, the abuse we’ve already endured is just a preview of what is destined to happen when Samuel Alito extends Executive Power.
Now look at your office… and look at the faxes that cover the floor, the emails flooding your inbox and the telephone ringing off the hook. These messages are from people who still hold out hope. People who are tired of seeing their Democratic leaders lay down. People who have looked hopelessness in the eye and chose to rally their Senators for a fight. People who still think that we can stand up to the Goliath that is the GOP and let them know we won’t be bullied or bribed into submission. The Republicans think by holding the nuclear option over our head every time there’s a crucial vote we’ll cower and let them have their way… but there are several Democrats who have had enough. Senator, we are asking you stand up and fight with us for the cause you know is right.
Please join the Democrats in voting no on cloture, and against Samuel Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court… and if you cannot bring yourself to vote no, then please exercise your right to simply abstain.
We need you, Senator Byrd.
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