The selection of Samuel Alito underscores how bizarre the Miers interlude was. What could the president have been thinking? Luckily for him and the U.S. he was quickly able to summon a second coming of John Roberts. This leaves the minority Democrats back in familiar territory, tearing down, screeching, wildly demagoguing a candidate of genuine quality, depth, and achievement. They have nothing to offer, except new rounds of anti-Italian ethnic bigotry (in their own terms, how else can dismissive comments about "Scalito" be described?) -- while President Bush is set to go down as the man who gave his country Roberts I and II.
The Spectacle Blog
The internet was down at home this morning, so I had to glean my news from the Today Show. Now I remember why I don't turn the TV on in the morning. Katie Couric had "the first live interview" (breathless!) with Joe Wilson since Friday's indictments. Couric fawned over Wilson a la 60 Minutes and closed by asking poor Joe if he thinks he can get his and Vanity Fair Valerie's lives back to normal. Yes, that's what he wants the most as he shuttles from green room to green room and between studios in New York and D.C. What a trooper.
Reporters are all over Alito's Casey dissent, where he argued for upholding a law requiring a woman to consult her husband before seeking an abortion. They're not mentioning Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey v. Farmer, in which Alito voted to overturn New Jersey's partial birth abortion ban; he argued in his concurrence that the lower court was bound by the Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart (though he did not endorse the reasoning of Stenberg). Nor are they mentioning Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women v. Knoll, in which Alito joined in striking down Pennsylvania's law requiring women who have been raped to report the crime when seeking state funding for abotion, on the basis that the law was invalidated by a Clinton administration policy that prohibited states from tacking on conditions to Medicaid abortion funding.
Take those cases into account, and the picture being painted of a crusading conservative activist falls apart. Alito is a guy who rules as the law requires, not as his policy preferences dictate.
From the official bio of SCOTUS-nominee Sam Alito, Jr.:
Ø Samuel A. Alito, Jr., was born in April, 1950, in
Alito has more judicial experience than any SCOTUS nominee in 70 years, Bush just pointed out.
Ok, so now that we know it's Judge Sam Alito, Jr. for SCOTUS, how long will it be before the hyperlibs start screaming? Apparently -- as of 0755 -- Little Miss Gun Control, Chuckie Schumer has already tut-tutted the choice as has Harry Reid. I guess they'll have to get their orders from CBS News and the NYT editorial page before they announce the filibuster.
Alito doesn't have quite the track record on federalism of Michael Luttig, the other name that was in the rumor mill. But Alito played a role on the right side of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and as Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out in his chapter of A Year at the Supreme Court,
The legal conservatives who have cheered the Rehnquist Court's supposed federalism tend to put cases such as Casey in a different mental category from the federalism cases. But this is a mistake. Restrictions on moral federalism remove the political basis for any contemplated federalist "revolution." The reason for this is that moral federalism is the only kind of federalism that might have some robustness.Expect to hear a lot more about Casey.
The formal annoucement is coming at 8. A great pick.
Our Jed Babbin is developing the idea that the real U.S. opposition party is the mainstream media. Anyone who saw 60 Minutes' segment last night on "the exposure of Valerie Plame" wouldn't disagree for moment. It was breathtakingly partisan, turning Mrs. Wilson into a heroic undercover agent of 18 years standing risking life and limb for country until exposed by a vile administration. It just so happened that this segment ran two days after Patrick Fitzgerald issued his first indictment. It gave no clue at all that Plame's husband remains a man of dubious credibility. It never explained how an undercover agent takes time off to have children and help women with postpartum depression.
According to sources in both the White House and Senate leadership, the President is poised to nominate Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito on Monday morning.
No official phone calls have been made to those Republicans who need to be in the know: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Deputy Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, but ongoing conversations among senior staff at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue lead our sources to believe Alito is it.
"Ever since the President returned from Camp David, the buzz has gotten clearer and more focused on Alito," says a Capitol Hill source. "What we have to remember, is that it was like this when we all thought it was Edith Clement, and that didn't work out the way we all expected."
The other major name in play is Judge Michael Luttig. He became more actively mentioned mid-day Friday, and has remained with Alito at the top of the list. Other potential nominees that the President looked over at Camp David read like the short lists of rumors past: Sykes, Williams, Corrigan and Jones.