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Samuel Alito chosen for Supreme Court

Old 10-31-05, 06:17 AM
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Samuel Alito chosen for Supreme Court

By JEANNE CUMMINGS and JOHN HARWOOD
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 31, 2005 7:04 a.m.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush will nominate federal appeals court judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, following the withdrawal last week of his first choice, White House counsel Harriet Miers.

An announcement will be made at 8 a.m., according to people who have been briefed by the White House on the decision.

In contrast with Ms. Miers, Judge Alito, 55, has a long and prominent paper trail of conservative judicial positions, notably a vote to uphold a Pennsylvania law requiring a wife notify her husband of an abortion. And while conservative activists worked hard to undercut the Miers nomination, they've made clear in weekend conversations with the White House that they'll enthusiastically back Judge Alito.

Democrats, however, have suggested that Judge Alito's nomination could trigger a bitter showdown -- including a possible debilitating filibuster. Senate Minority Harry Reid -- who had suggested Ms. Miers be nominated -- said on CNN Sunday that an Alito nomination "would create a lot of problems."


Republican officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to preview Mr. Bush's remarks, said Judge Alito was virtually certain to get the nod from the moment Ms. Miers backed out. The 55-year-old jurist was Mr. Bush's favorite choice of the judges in the last set of deliberations but he settled instead on someone outside what he calls the "judicial monastery," the officials said.

Mr. Bush believes that Judge Alito hasn't only the right experience and conservative ideology for the job, but he also has a temperament suited to building consensus on the court. A former prosecutor, Judge Alito has experience off the bench that factored into Mr. Bush's thinking, the officials said.

Speculation had mounted among conservatives that Mr. Bush was leaning toward Judge Alito, whom his father put on the federal bench. Judge Alito, a soft-spoken conservative who has served on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990, had been enjoying a boomlet of support among activists and commentators on the right.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Ms. Miers joined the president at Camp David during the weekend to review the situation. Mr. Bush returned early yesterday afternoon and Republican senators predicted he would move swiftly to reassert himself after political setbacks last week.

"Within a very short time, the president is going to come forward with a very strong nominee," said Sen. Trent Lott (R., Miss.) on "Fox News Sunday." Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who urged Mr. Bush to take his time and let Justice Sandra Day O'Connor serve out this term on the court, told CNN's "Late Edition" that the expectation is that a nomination will be "very imminent."

Mr. Specter didn't hide his concern that by moving fast Mr. Bush may be buying himself political trouble and even a filibuster fight. "There could be a real tough battle here and a real tough fight, depending on whom the president puts up," Mr. Specter said. On the same CNN program, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was cool to the suggestion of an Alito nomination: "I think it would create a lot of problems."

Judge Alito, 55 years old, graduated from Princeton University two classes ahead of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and earned his law degree from Yale. He spent the first half of the 1980s in the Solicitor General's Office under President Reagan, then moved back to New Jersey as a federal prosecutor, eventually becoming U.S. attorney there from 1987 to 1990. Nominated to the Third Circuit by the president's father, he won confirmation with little difficulty and was among a batch of circuit-court judges that cleared the Senate in the spring of 1990, including David Souter of New Hampshire, who moved on to the Supreme Court in 1990.

By chance, the president and Senate leaders Frist and Reid were together last evening for ceremonies honoring civil-rights heroine Rosa Parks, who died last week and whose body was brought to lie in honor in the Capitol rotunda. Mr. Frist said he didn't know Judge Alito personally when they overlapped at Princeton but has been hearing about him from alumni. "People have a lot of respect for him," he said.



It is a good choice, and clearly the President thinks it is a case of getting his cake and eating it too. We shall see. Personally, I don't feel he has that much of a better chance than others, (like my favourite), to get confirmed. He will get confirmed, but it's going to be a closer vote than Justice Robert's bid.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:17 AM
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I told you so.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I told you so.




Yeah, but that limb you went out on wasn't very long, now was it?


At least my guy was in the race, and as I stated, I have no problem with Mr. Alito. He will serve our nation very well.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:23 AM
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Good news.

Hope this guy breezes through the hearings.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:31 AM
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He won't breeze through.

I await to see what the judiciary chairman says about the nomination. If he's publically non-committal, as he was in the Roberts' nomination, that probably means no trouble in the committee.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:36 AM
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Another take on the nomination:

By Fred Barbash and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 31, 2005; 6:35 AM

President Bush today will name appeals court Judge Samuel A. Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a source close to the White House. 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.

Some Democrats, including minority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), have threatened to oppose Alito, however.

Alito would be Bush's second choice for the seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has announced her retirement but has remained on the court pending confirmation of a successor.

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.

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.

His record on the appeals court makes Alito less liable to suggestions made about Roberts, with only two years as a judge, that he is somehow a judicial mystery.

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 Pennsylvania legislature," Alito wrote, "could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems -- such as economic constrains, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition -- that may be obviated by discussion prior to abortion."

The case ultimately reached he 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.

While lauded by conservatives, Alito has also been criticized by women's rights organizations for his 1996 dissent in a sex discrimination case, Sheridan v. Dupont, in which he argued that Third Circuit that had made it too easy for discrimination complaints to reach a jury trial. The standards for deciding when a discrimination case reaches trial are hotly controversial as they determine whether or not such a case moves forward at all.

The dissent concluded a significant dispute in the circuit over the analytical framework for granting summary judgments dismissing a complaint without a trial under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Alito initially challenged the existing framework and prevailed when the case was before a three judge panel. He lost the battle when the full circuit ruled.

The widely discussed exchange in the Sheridan case illustrated both Alito's willingness to take on a potentially losing battle in the law and his approach to such battles, which, in that case, was calm, analytical and devoid of flamboyant rhetoric.

In the area of church and state, Alito has been consistently supportive of the conservative view that the courts should be more accommodating when considering state entanglement with religion. He wrote a majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler, holding that a city's holiday display that included a creche and menorah did not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it included secular symbols as well, such as Frosty the Snowman.
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Old 10-31-05, 06:40 AM
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Some Democrats, including minority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), have threatened to oppose Alito, however.
That's hardly a surprise. Reid opposed the Roberts nomination. I would expect that he would oppose the much more meaningful Alito nomination.

Last edited by classicman2; 10-31-05 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:07 AM
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Bush is currently announcing his choice.

Side Note: From the camera angle, it looks like Alito is a tall fellow. I wonder how that will affect his confirmation?
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Old 10-31-05, 07:10 AM
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Old 10-31-05, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
Don't be jumping up and down. You wante Luttig.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:15 AM
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Where did I say that? I wanted JRB. But I'll take "Scalito"
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Old 10-31-05, 07:16 AM
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I see - you wanted somebody who had absolutely no chance of being confirmed.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:31 AM
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Oh Noes! He chose a real judge this time. What are the Dems going to say now?
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Old 10-31-05, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by lordwow
Oh Noes! He chose a real judge this time. What are the Dems going to say now?
Hopefully... "congratulations Mr. Justice, have a seat."
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Old 10-31-05, 07:49 AM
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Let the fun begin.


JRB would have been confirmed. Why? Because c-man said there was no chance of it.


Overall, I rate this choice a B+.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by lordwow
Oh Noes! He chose a real judge this time. What are the Dems going to say now?
I believe most Democrats will oppose him.

What they can't say, with any credibility, is that he is not qualified.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Let the fun begin.


JRB would have been confirmed. Why? Because c-man said there was no chance of it.


Overall, I rate this choice a B+.
I also said it would be Alito, didn't I?

I have to admit - I thought he would select a woman; but a Republican friend of mine who knows people that know people told me that Alito was the choice - I believe it was last Friday or Thursday.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
I also said it would be Alito, didn't I?

I have to admit - I thought he would select a woman; but a Republican friend of mine who knows people that know people told me that Alito was the choice - I believe it was last Friday or Thursday.

You and everyone else after he was annoited as the favorite.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:54 AM
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One Democrat's take on Samuel Alito:

"Alito is the kind of judge the public deserves one who is impartial, thoughtful, and fair."

- Frank Lautenberg*








*In 1990
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Old 10-31-05, 07:56 AM
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The conventional wisdom before the Roberts' nomination was someone else was the choice - remember?
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Old 10-31-05, 07:59 AM
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Alito was confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent for the Circuit Court.

The Democrats, who were around then, will argue that there is a different standard to be applied for SC nominees. Just because someone is 'acceptable' to be a judge in the circuit court doesn't mean he is acceptable to be a justice in the SC.

I can promise you that same argument will be used this time.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
The conventional wisdom before the Roberts' nomination was someone else was the choice - remember?


If you wish to take credit for your amazing Alito fortune telling, here's a golf clap for you......and every carbon blob who did the same.
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Old 10-31-05, 07:59 AM
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This guy doesn't sound so bad. Bush should have picked a woman though.
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Old 10-31-05, 08:01 AM
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Well he certainly shouldn't have selected another Catholic and Yale Law School Graduate. We're not satisfying the quota requirement with his selection.
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Old 10-31-05, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
If you wish to take credit for your amazing Alito fortune telling, here's a golf clap for you......and every carbon blob who did the same.
You're just pissed off, because you said it was going to be Luttig.

Was he even in the finals?
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