Dear Senator Warner,
Please oppose the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
This country is nearing a constitutional crisis over the separation of powers. Few Americans are as personally involved in and deeply aware of this as you. Two weeks ago you were obliged to stand with Sen. McCain to respond to the President's claim, in a signing statement of the defense bills, that he could waive the anti-torture provisions of the act should he find it necessary.
I was heartened to see such an immediate and direct response from you and Sen. McCain, committing to the oversight so vital to our system of government. But it troubled me that such a declaration would even be needed. It also struck me that the two of you are among a very small group of senior Senators in your party who have shown any ability to stand up to the administration.
So it troubled me even more to consider that you would soon be asked to approve the lifetime appointment to what should be another independent branch of government of a judge who has supported for decades a radical view of sweeping executive power, the so-called 'unitary executive'. (To add salt to the wound, Judge Alito is also the originator of the dubious practice of treating presidential signing statements as part of the background to be used by courts in interpretating legislation.)
This is an issue that cuts across partisan lines, or should. It's one thing for Supreme Court justices to overturn particular settled policies: those policies will return to state legislatures and Congress, where constituents and lobbies will battle them out. It's another thing altogether for the Court to acquiesce in an expansion of executive power that nullifies constitutional rights; from that there may be no return.
In light of the history of this administration's assertion of power over detainee treatment, and now their recent admission of having bypassed the FISA court for years to spy on American citizens without warrants, are you willing to put the Constitution at risk by approving Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court?
Please protect our system of government; please oppose this nomination.