Monday, October 31, 2005

Bush Nominates Alito

He's done it:

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

While many Republicans praised the judicial nominee, Democrats wasted no time in publicly blasting him as "too radical."
Screw the Democrats. They were going to do that anyway.

Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to that of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered. Some at the White House have taken offense to the nickname.
FOX News Supreme Court analyst Tim O'Brien said while Alito's ideology may be similar to that of Scalia's, he is an independent thinker and should not be labeled as another Scalia.
But "he is a friendly, easy-going guy and that certainly will help him in this confirmation here," O'Brien said.
I don't know why they'd take offense to the name. It's a great compliment.

NRO's Bench Memos has continuing coverage. David Bernstein at Volokh notes that if Alito is confirmed, it will be the first time in the nation's history that a majority of Catholics are on the bench. I'm sure that, once that fact becomes known, it will make the abortion-worshippers go ballistic, and will bring up another institutional inquisition on the nature of religion/judging, all designed as a mask to make sure that pro-life believers are not on the Court.

Scott at Powerline notes: "We're about to get the fight over Constitutional principles that conservatives have looked forward to for years."

UPDATE 1: Professor Bainbridge notes that Alito "is everything Harriet Miers was not: An experienced jurist. Prosecutorial and government experience. Relatively young (55). Stellar educational credentials (Princeton and Yale). A committed conservative whose track record..." Good point. Also, he's a man. Bush didn't cave in again to the demands of the diversity crowd and nominate another woman merely because O'Connor's seat is held by a woman. The Prof. notes that Alito wasn't his first choice, but nevertheless is a solid candidate and should do much to unite the base. I agree.

I think that some of the more overzealous headline writers among the MSM wouldn't be engaging in hyperbole regarding Bush's second term if he had picked a solid choice for the Court in the first place, instead of Miers. But, in a month's time, assuming Alito is confirmed, Bush should be in a much better place politically than he was last week.

UPDATE 2: Captain Ed notes that "55, has the possibility of providing 20-30 years of jurisprudence on the Supreme Court, meaning that he and John Roberts have a real opportunity to turn the court back from its decades-long flirtation with supplanting the Legislature and turning itself into a strange American version of the Iranian Guardian Council." I couldn't have said it any better myself, Captain Ed. And he's right in noting that the Democrats blew their chance at getting a moderate on the bench (one nearly hand-delivered to them by Bush, though). I wish Alito was younger, like Luttig, but nevertheless he's a stellar choice.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the Republican Senate will hold the front and confirm this man. Michelle Malkin has a big rundown of blogger posts and notes (via Jason Smith) that Bill Frist said on FoxNews that "If the Democrats are looking for a fight, we'll be up for the fight. We won't back down... We're gonna get an up or down vote on the Senate floor and if the Democrats want a fight, they'll get one." A-frickin'-men. We should do everything to offer support to those Senators who are willing to go to bat for this nominee. If Alito is defeated, it will be because of the Republicans, not because of the Democrats.

UPDATE 3: An update on the Senate numbers for confirmation: "Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, fired back Sunday, saying that if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, "the filibuster will not stand." Captain Ed predicts about 30 Democrats as opposed to Alito, but that a filibuster would be unsuccessful because of his disarming personality. Perhaps. He also notes that in order to protect a genuine liberal, Judge Stevens (85 years old), the Democrats will want to save their defense of a "liberal seat" for the time when it comes and won't waste their ammo on Alito. I disagree. They need to fight Alito for the same reasons that conservatives wanted him or Luttig or anyone other than Miers: to present to the American people their vision of Supreme Court jurisprudence. The Democrats will fight, but they will lose.

UPDATE 4: Reaction from other Catholic Bloggers (will be updated throughout the day): Amy Wellborn has an open thread, & Mirror of Justice has discussion on Alito's case background. Rich Leonardi also has been posting on Alito. Mark Shea now posts his thoughts.

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