Friday, January 13, 2006

ALITO: supremacy of elected branches

KENNEDY: Now, in 1985, in your job application to the Justice Department, you wrote, "I believe very strongly in the supremacy of the elected branches of government." Those are your words, am I right?

ALITO: They are and that's a very inapt phrase.

KENNEDY: Excuse me?

ALITO: It's an inapt phrase, and I certainly didn't mean that literally at the time, and I wouldn't say that today.

The branches of government are equal. They have different responsibilities, but they are all equal and no branch is supreme to the other branches.

KENNEDY: So you've changed your mind?

ALITO: No, I haven't changed my mind, Senator, but the phrasing there is very misleading and incorrect.

What I was getting at is the fact that our Constitution gives the judiciary a particular role and there are instances in which it can override the judgments that are made by Congress and by the executive. But for the most part, our Constitution leaves it to the elected branches of government to make the policy decisions for our country.

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