Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush Selects Alito: The Early Word

I guess they decided to get sneaky with this one. Received a news alert at 6 and some change that Bush is selecting Samuel Alito to replace Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. My first thought was that I’d heard the name before; my second thought was that I had no idea what the guy stood for.

First I checked out MSNBC (, simply because it was their news alert. Here’s what they had to say:

WASHINGTON - President Bush, stung by the rejection of his first choice, nominated conservative judge Samuel Alito to replace moderate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in a bid to reshape the Supreme Court and mollify his political base.

"Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and respected judges in America," the president said in announcing Alito's selection Monday. "He's got a mastery of the law and a deep commitment to justice."

The choice was likely to spark a political brawl. Unlike the nomination of Harriet Miers, which was derailed Thursday by Bush's conservative allies, Alito faces opposition from Democrats.

"The Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

Democrats warn of partisan brawl
While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush's allies on the right, Democrats have served notice that his nomination would spark a partisan brawl. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito's nomination would "create a lot of problems."

Unlike Miers, who has never been a judge, Alito, a 55-year-old jurist from New Jersey, has been a strong conservative voice on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since former President George H.W. Bush seated him there in 1990.

So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.

Okay, so a staunch conservative, put in his current position by Bush 43’s daddy; by this account, a “Scalia-lite”. I’m not sure how happy I am about that prospect. But more analysis has been forthcoming, this time from the Post (

Bush, fresh from withering criticism of Harriet Miers for her lack of judicial experience, stressed Alito's many years of litigation experience, first arguing 12 cases before the Supreme Court and then as an appeals court judge. Bush said Alito was the most experienced nominee in 70 years. Fresh from questions about Mier's intellect, Bush highlighted the fact that Alito went to the Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the prestigious law review. Bush called Alito "brilliant."

Alito's resume, including his service in the Reagan administration Justice Department, is very much unlike Miers', who had no appellate experience, and very much like that of Chief Justice John Roberts, who had lots.

Like Chief Justice John Roberts, Alito served during the Reagan administration in the office of Solicitor General, which argues on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court.

Unlike Roberts, he has opined from the bench on both abortion rights, church-state separation and gender discrimination to the pleasure of conservatives and displeasure of liberals.

In addition, his appeals court record is not uniformly conservative on the sorts of issues that arise in Supreme Court confirmation battles.

In 2004, he ruled in favor of a complaint brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by a boy badly bullied by his classmates who was seeking legal relief but had been rebuffed by a U.S. District Court.

He also authored a majority opinion granting federal court review to an African American who could not get state courts to hear his claim of racial bias on the part of a juror in his trial. The case involved a juror who used racial epithets outside the confines of the jury room.

Okay, all well and good, but here’s the meat of the problem:

Rather, liberals are likely to focus on his opinions and dissents, most notably in the 1991 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

In that case, Alito joined joined a Third Circuit panel in upholding most of a Pennsylvania law imposing numerous restrictions on women seeking abortions. The law, among other things, required physicians to advise women of the potential medical dangers of abortion and tell them of the alternatives available. It also imposed a 24 hour waiting period for abortions and barred minors from obtaining abortions without parental consent.

The panel, in that same ruling, struck down a single provision in the law requiring women to notify their husband's before they obtained an abortion. Alito dissented from that part of the decision.

The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, which upheld the appeals court decision, disagreed with Alito and also used the case to reaffirm its support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

So here’s a chance to get that opinion into the Supreme Court. Here are some more things to consider:This one’s going to be interesting, folks.

Posted by crimnos @ 8:38 AM

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Yeah, I don't know yet enough about this guy but I am worried.

Posted by Blogger james @ 12:05 PM #
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