Sunday, November 13, 2005

Will: Three Samples of Sam Alito

   George Will has a characteristicly clever selection of three cases in which Samuel Alito authored the opinion, concluding that he would be a vote against campaign finance laws like McCain-Feingold.

   My favorite synopsis: citing Alito's refusal to recognize a cause of action for an Atlantic City gambler who claimed that the casino was liable for his losses because it provided alcohol:

Writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Alito noted that New Jersey courts have not made servers of alcohol liable beyond injuries resulting from drunken driving or accidents or brawls in a bar. He said that although the state's regulation of casinos is "intense," there was no evidence of a legislative intent to make casinos liable for giving alcohol to gamblers. Alito agreed with a lower court's holding that extending such liability into an area "so fully regulated" would not be a "predictable extension of common law tort principles."

Alito also cited the lower court's opinion that making casinos liable for losses incurred by drunken gamblers "could present almost metaphysical problems of proximate causation, since sober gamblers can play well yet lose big, intoxicated gamblers can still win big, and under the prevailing rules and house odds, 'the house will win and the gamblers will lose' anyway in the typical transaction."

Score one for the principle that courts should not improvise social policy, particularly in areas where legislatures have made detailed pronouncements.

Score one, indeed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that it is fair to distill the analysis of Alito to the rants of a whiny girl who has probably not read her cases. Alito has about 350 published cases. I have read about 180 of them. To form an opinion without reading all of them is unlawyer-like and probably encourages terrorism.

I would terminate my friendship with that girl now and report her to the bar. (You can tell her that she is better at shopping than understanding SDP or privacy issues to cushion the blow.)

1:11 PM  
Blogger Bostonian Exile said...

Wow. I really don't know where to start with that.

So I won't.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Can't say I blame ya BE.

As far as McCain-Feingold, I can't for the life of me understand how a law which says that I can't buy an ad expressing an opinion about a candidate in the month before an election isn't an infringment upon my First Amendment rights. It seemed pretty cut-and-dry to me. That is one precedent that needs to be overturned soon. If it isn't, I fully expect for us lowly bloggers to be regulated soon. Somebody is sure to say that a blog extolling the virtues of a particular candidate amounts to an illegal campaign contribution.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Bostonian Exile said...

I can't say that I am intimately familiar with the workings of McCain-Feingold, but I am inclined to agree with you that it seems to lead to some perverse consequences.

2:02 PM  

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