Bush nominates Samuel Alito, Jr., to replace O’Connor on the Supreme Court:
President Bush today named appeals court Judge Samuel A. Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alito, 55, serves on the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where his record on abortion rights and church-state issues has been widely applauded by conservatives and criticized by liberals.
Alito, appointed to the appeals court in 1990 by George H.W. Bush, has been a regular for years on the White House high court short list. He was also among those proposed by conservative intellectuals as an alternative to Harriet Miers, the White House counsel who withdrew as the nominee last week…
Alito’s resume, including a degree from the Yale Law School and 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.
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.
While he has been dubbed “Scalito” by some lawyers for a supposed affinity to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and his Italian-American heritage, most observers believe that greatly oversimplifies his record.
Alito is considered far less provocative a figure than Scalia both in personality and judicial temperament. His opinions and dissents tend to be dryly analytical rather than slashing.
He is young, experienced, credentialed, and qualified. I am pretty sure he is too conservative for most Democrats, and will most certainly be opposed by the advocacy groups on the left, but I do not think he will be opposed by the Gang of 14 and I think conservatives will crawl over broken glass to get him on the bench, so I give his nomination a pretty good chance.
I don’t know where I stand on him- I will wait to see what comes out of the next few weeks.
*** Update ***
Several interesting pieces up at Red State. First, the Baseball Crank notes that the Casey decision will weigh heavily on the nomination and the candidacy of Bob Casey, Jr., while it appears I may have been right- the Gang of 14 will not allow a filibuster to stand.
*** Update #2 ***
*** Update #3 ***
Sen. Reid sets the tone for what will probably be the Democratic response:
The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.
“I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.
“Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.
“Justice O’Connor has been the deciding vote in key cases protecting individual rights and freedoms on a narrowly divided Court. The stakes in selecting her replacement are high.
“I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the Court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers.”
Looks like Matt Yglesias will get his wish about a Jonah Goldberg quota loving liberals column.
*** Update #4***
Orin Kerr writes:
I’m very pleased. This was a smart pick by Bush. It will take a few weeks for Senate Democrats to get comfortable with Alito, I think; given the “Scalito” nickname often used to describe him, many initially will fear that Bush has nominated some kind of Scalia clone. In time, though, I think we’ll see that Alito is more like John Roberts than Antonin Scalia. Like Roberts, Alito is an institutionalist who spent his career working in government at a very high level (including at the Solicitor General’s Office). Like Roberts, Alito is a very likable person. In light of his similarites to Roberts, I expect that Alito will be confirmed without a filibuster.
More links here.
*** Update #5 ***
As hoped, the Armando freak-out is posted, and the freak-out, at the moment, seems limited to the fact that Altio’s nickname is Scalito. Heady analysis, that!
Lots of links at the Campaign for the Supreme Court blog at the WaPo.
*** Update #6 ***
Captain Ed has an interesting point, of sorts:
As I mentioned below, Reid caused this problem in part because he did nothing to rescue his own suggestion for the court opening until Miers withdrew her nomination. He had specifically mentioned Miers as a compromise candidate that Democrats would not oppose, and then allowed Schumer and Leahy to belittle her responses in an echo of the conservative opposition that quickly coalesced around Miers. Reid and his caucus could have rescued the most moderate candidate they were likely to see from this administration. The Democratic delight in Bush’s predicament over the last three weeks undoubtedly played a part in the President’s decision to discount any further advice from Harry Reid.
The Captain then predicts confirmation 65-35. Sounds about right.
*** Update #7 ***
Meanwhile, as Patterico argued in advance of the nomination, conservatives should be prepared to combat attacks on Alito’s dissent in Casey. In short, left advocacy groups will try to frame that dissent—which touched on the legality of spousal notification for abortion and Justice O’Connor’s “undue burden” criterion guiding restrictions to abortion—as anti-woman, the suggestion being that Judge Alito “believes” women must obtain a husband’s permission before getting an abortion, essentially giving men veto power over a woman’s choice.
Such an argument would be (suprise!) a simplistic and dishonest way to frame a clear and well-reasoned dissent, naturally—which is precisely why we should anticipate the left using it, and why we must be prepared to rebut it in clear and simple terms, namely, that Judge Alito “believed” no such thing, but rather he that believed Pennsylvania had the authority to pass such a law, which did not violate established legal thinking on the conditions for placing restrictions on abortion.
This is going to be a heated one, for sure.