The Disappeared Witness

Brownback cites witness who was pulled to avoid embarrassment for Alito supporters

Earlier today Senator Sam Brownback submitted into the record a letter from Cathy Fleming as evidence that Alito is not biased against individual rights in favor of business and government. Fleming, a former colleague of Samuel Alito, was scheduled to testify on his behalf tomorrow.

Brownback may not have known that Fleming, who is the president-elect of the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and served under Alito when he was a New Jersey U.S. Attorney, was pulled from the witness list this week after the NAWL released its rating of Alito: “not qualified.”

The NAWL evaluated Alito’s “writings, including his judicial record,” and found that he “has shown a disinclination to protect or advance women's rights.” Furthermore, the organization found that Alito’s “jurisprudence in the area of women's rights has not been restrained” and that “he has too often engaged in strained legal reasoning to effect a narrowing of women's rights beyond the intent of statutes and precedent.”

“Fleming’s absence speaks volumes,” said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way. “Her organization’s evaluation gets to the very heart of concerns over Alito. Yanking her from the schedule is just one more attempt to sweep inconvenient facts about Alito under the rug.”

Neas noted that Chief Justice John Roberts was deemed “qualified” last year by the NAWL.

“It’s yet another difference between Alito and Roberts,” he said.

Updated witness list, without Fleming: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearing.cfm?id=1725

NAWL’s evaluation of Alito: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060108/nysu044.html?.v=1

NAWL’s evaluation of Roberts: http://www.abanet.org/nawl/news/release092005.html

The witness list as of last Friday, as released by Senator Arlen Specter’s office. Fleming appears under panel 5:  http://www.dailykos.com/special/alito_specter

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