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Local editorials

Senate should reject Alito Our biggest concern is his support for unchecked executive power

Samuel Alito's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court should be rejected, both for his shortcomings and for the shortcomings of the man who nominated him.

Our biggest fear about Alito is simply this: He has a long-standing record of supporting the power of the president ' above the powers of the legislative and judicial branches ' and the current president cannot be trusted with that power.

George W. Bush is slowly but surely changing the United States into a country whose priorities no longer center around liberty and equality, but instead around power and political ideology. The basic freedoms that have made the United States great have been eroded under his watch.

Judge Alito would do nothing to shore up that erosion. His record on the bench shows a pattern of support for the executive branch that suggests he sees little need for any checks on the presidency.

But the acts of George W. Bush ' including spying on U.S. citizens without warrants and jailing U.S. citizens without filing charges ' suggests the opposite: This president needs as many checks on his power as our government can possibly muster.

We have other concerns about Alito's philosophy, which seems evident despite his ducking and dodging before a Senate committee. He will not support a woman's right to an abortion; he has a long record of opposing civil rights actions and environmental protections and an equally long record of siding with businesses against employees and consumers.

— We have no illusions that President Bush would nominate someone other than a conservative and that's his right. But we see this conservative as a threat to our individual liberties and the basic tenets our nation has nurtured.

Our concern over President Bush's actions certainly colors our view of Alito, but the judge's unabashed support of executive branch powers should give pause to people of all political persuasions. The rulings he participates in will affect not only the power of this president, but of all presidents to come, Republican, Democrat and other.

Delayed or denied? Two Jackson County commissioners say a Mail Tribune headline and editorial misrepresented their actions in not approving an application to remove private property near the Siskiyou Summit from open range.

The editorial and headline said commissioners Jack Walker and C.W. Smith defied the law in refusing to approve the request. The commissioners say they did not reject the request, but instead voted to delay action until they could determine if the approval would amount to a land-use action that required other proceedings.

The motion made by Walker, according to minutes from the meeting, read ... I would move that we not approve and disregard order 15-06 for now and I don't know if that is the legal or proper way of doing it.

Smith later responded, I would defer this for further clarification. I will concur with Commissioner Walker ... .

State law regarding open range cattle grazing and livestock districts says county officials shall allow the property to be removed from open range in cases such as the one considered last week.

There was considerable confusion after the meeting over just what the commissioners had voted to do, but they say their intent was to delay action and not to deny the application.

We believe Walker and Smith are looking for any legal fingerhold they can find in order to deny this request. But we also think they did not intend to willfully violate the law in doing so.