Thursday, March 2, 2006
In a radio broadcast yesterday, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson read a thank-you letter he received from the newest Supreme Court justice, Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Dobson, an abortion opponent, had urged his listeners to support Alito's nomination. He said on the air yesterday that they "changed history" by putting Alito and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on the court in time to hear a case regarding a ban on late-term abortions.
Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization based in Colorado Springs, says Dobson's daily radio show has more than 1 million listeners.
Liberal groups immediately condemned the letter. Nan Aron, president of the Washington-based Alliance for Justice, called it an "unseemly note" that "transforms Justice Alito from a judge into a politician." Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the letter "strongly suggests that Alito is carrying out a right-wing agenda instead of being a justice for all."
Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg confirmed that Alito sent the letter. She said that he was responding to a congratulatory note from Dobson, just as he "has responded to scores of congratulatory letters from people of all walks of life." Here is the letter:
Dear Dr. Dobson:
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. 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 for 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 powerful force.
As long as I serve on the Supreme Court I will keep in mind the trust that has been placed in me. I hope that we will have the opportunity to meet personally at some point in the future. In the meantime my entire family and I hope that you and the Focus on the Family staff know how much we appreciate all that you have done.
-- Alan Cooperman