A new piece of writing by Justice Sam Alito has just been uncovered
that promises to bring a much greater understanding to his judicial temperament
and philosophy than any of the writings brought up at his confirmation
This new writing is his very gracious thank you note to Dr. James
Dobson of the conservative crackpot group Focus on the Family. If we look
closely at this, we might understand a little better where Alito will take us.
What follows is my line-by-line analysis of the thank you note, which
is based on having written at least 15 thank you notes in my lifetime.
�Dear Dr. Dobson:�
This is a very good start. Calling him �doctor� shows respect and
emphasizes that you don't think Dr. Dobson is a flake for saying that SpongeBob
Squarepants is being used to recruit youngsters to a homosexual lifestyle. It
also adds huge credibility to Dobson's viewpoint that gay marriage will destroy
heterosexual marriages and that the Supreme Court is kind of like the Ku Klux
Klan. A simple �Dear Jim� would have done none of this and might have made
Dobson seem flaky.
�This is just a short note to express my heartfelt
thanks to you and the entire staff of Focus on the Family for your help and
support during the past few challenging months.�
Good thank you note writers always make it a �short note� and always
state that it's a short note. That conveys the impression that they are very
busy and extremely important and that anyone who takes time out of a busy schedule
to express gratitude is going well beyond what is expected of them. In fact, it
says that they are repaying you by using up their valuable time to pay
attention to you. That makes the gift giver feel very important, which then
creates a strong bond between the two that could last for days or even months,
or at least until the culture wars are over.
But note the little extra something this sentence has: the �past few
challenging months.� This phrase very clearly says that Alito and Dobson agree
on whatever it was that made these months challenging. What could that be?
Probably that too many lawyers, journalists, college professors, college
students, high school students, public school students, big city people, poor
people, dark-skinned people, single moms, working moms, workers, unemployed
people, atheists, agnostics, scientists, public school teachers, voters,
environmentalists, feminists, immigrants, unions, gays, lesbians,
pornographers, artists, and, of course, cartoon characters don't like his judicial
philosophy, so they are getting in his way.
Dobson would agree with that, because these are the very same people
who are keeping Dobson from running his own little theocracy here in the
Homeland. Every time he gets a good start on that, they do something to get in
his way, like file a frivolous lawsuit. So if it's not SpongeBob Squarepants
getting involved in remaking the Sister Sledge video, �We Are Family,� to
promote diversity and thus lure kids to homosexuality, which only Dr. Dobson
can point out and stop, it's some activist judge calling laws against partial
birth abortions unconstitutional.
Alito feels Dobson's pain, in other words.
�I would also greatly appreciate it if you would
convey my appreciation to the good people from all parts of the country who
wrote to tell me that they were praying for me and my family during this
period. As I said when I spoke at my formal investiture at the White House last
week, the prayers of so many people from around the country were a palpable and
This is the heart of the note because it thanks everybody who took part
in the prayers and �Justice Sunday� and all other events Dobson worked so hard
on to get rid of liberal activist judges in this country and replace them with
conservative activist judges.
For those who have never experienced a �palpable force,� it is truly
scary. It is a force that can come right up to you and push you around. So the
judge is thanking everyone who prayed and contributed to that �palpable force�
that actually pushed all those previously mentioned lawyers, journalists,
college professors, college students, high school students, public school
students, big city people, poor people, dark-skinned people, etc., around so
that the way was clear for his confirmation. It conveys all that and thanks the
person you are writing the note to for agreeing with you on the evilness of
�As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will
keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me.�
This line is the frosting on the cake. Alito is basically telling Dr.
Dobson that he agrees with him that it's only a few steps from gay marriage to
people marrying their pets. It also means that SpongeBob Squarepants can run
but he can't hide from this Supreme Court.
�I hope we have the opportunity to meet personally
at some point in the future.�
It is very common to state in a thank you note that the gift giver
should stop by some time and see how much the gift is enjoyed. But this is much
more than that, because Alito doesn't tell Dobson to come by and see how much
he is enjoying the gift, which is the seat on the Supreme Court. Since he
deliberately didn't say that, we have to conclude that is what he means.
I believe that Alito here is actually telling Dobson to file some kind
of case and appeal it right up to the Supreme Court, where Alito will make sure
that Dobson sees how much fun it can be to have a Supreme Court Justice
indebted to him. Since most of us will never have a chance to make a Supreme
Court Justice indebted to us, we'll have to watch closely to see if it does
seem like fun. If it does seem like fun, we'll have to figure out how to get a
Supreme Court Justice indebted to us.
�In the meantime, my entire family and I hope that
you and the Focus on the Family staff know how we appreciate all that you have
Since it's not clear to most of us what �all that you have done� is, we
can only assume that this is the kind of thank you note line that very subtly
expresses hope for a further gift. Since there are only two positions in the
known universe with more power than the one he has, this means Alito has his
sights set on either being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or the Pope.
My guess is that he's got a pretty good chance to become either,
unless, of course, gay marriage sneaks by all these guys and Alito is one of
those people who then gets these weird urges and marries his pet. Wouldn't that
Frank Fuller is a freelance writer in Minnesota whose book, with
co-author Susan Fuller, �Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and
Regulations Manual� will be published March 10. Visit www.last-laugh.net
for more information.