Sam Alito, Jump a Little Lighter

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Fellow New Jersey native Samuel Alito Jr. is to be named as the nominee to O'Connor's seat later this morning. Given the timing, expect 90 percent of headlines to use some variant on: "Trick for Dems; Treat for Base" to announce the story.

Update: OK, maybe not quite 90 percent, but Dahlia Lithwick hits it.

NEXT: Townhouse Crackers

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  1. From the headlines, you’d think it’s a real shock that Bush nominated a “conservative” (scare quotes because I have no idea if that is a legitimate description of Alito).

  2. I think the cutesy headlines must come in the “analysis” pieces tomorrow. I’m not seeing that today, except something vaguely related in one conservative “humor” blog (scare quotes because it’s only occasionally funny).

  3. NPR is hinting that he may be Hitler, but that’s to be expected. Does anyone know of a reliable source that might give an idea of how this guy tends to rule?

  4. He dissented from a decision that struck down a law requiring a wife to notify her husband before having an abortion. Turn that one around in your head for a while and you should be able to divine the core (or corps) of the arguments against Alito.

  5. I’d prefer headlines suggesting that Bush left a flaming bag on the Dems’ doorstep.

  6. Rimfax-I saw that, but the AP’s one-paragraph summary of the issue at hand isn’t very illuminating. Not that I should expect it to be.

  7. He nominated a person whose long history of directly relevant experience is a matter of public record, and who (to the best of my knowledge) has no particular ties to the current leadership of the Executive Branch.

    That is the sort of experience and independence that we should expect in a nominee, and Judge Alito therefore deserves careful consideration.

  8. Thoreau-agreed. Too bad he won’t get it. There’s spinning to be done, damn it!

  9. Number 6-

    FWIW, it’s entirely possible that I’ll decide he doesn’t like him. This morning on CSPAN, before the official announcement, he was getting a lot of praise for (supposedly) always siding with prosecutors. If so, it’s entirely possible that I’ll conclude he doesn’t take a balanced approach to important issues of due process.

    But at least he deserves consideration. Some people need to remember that there’s a difference between consideration and consent.

  10. “…that I’ll decide I don’t like him.”

    Preview is my friend. Preview is my friend.

  11. “That is the sort of experience and independence that we should expect in a nominee, and Judge Alito therefore deserves careful consideration”

    I think anyone the President nominates deserves careful consideration. After all, it is the President’s duty and responsibility to nominate.

    I’m glad Harriet withdrew, but I am disgusted with the knee-jerk reaction that came with the fact that she didn’t attend prestigious enough universities or that she spent too little time in government service. (not saying that you did this, Thoreau).

    The resume does not make the man (or the woman). I would agree, however, that a ‘stealth’ candidate like Miers would have a distinctly different hearing from someone with a public record (in the sense that his legal reasoning is publicly available) like Alito – it would have been the Senate’s responsibility to question her on her legal reasoning to discover whether she is skilled or not.

  12. they picked alphabetically…

  13. quasibill-

    I went back and forth on Miers’ qualifications. I decided that I don’t give a damn where she went to school, and I don’t care that she spent most of her time in the private sector. That would be fine if in private practice she had handled the sort of cases that make their way to the Supreme Court. Indeed, her time in private practice would have been a boon, then, as she would be experienced with the issues before the Court, but from a perspective rarely represented on the bench.

    The problem is that I never heard any indication of that. The closest she came to relevant experience was as White House Counsel, but crucial information on that part of her career was privileged.

    She probably was an excellent lawyer, but if she had little experience with the matters commonly before the Court then putting her on the Court would be like hiring the best prosecutor in town to handle a complicated real estate transaction. That prosecutor is probably a very sharp and talented person, and he would probably be fine, but if the matter is complicated enough you’d still rather have somebody experienced with the matter at hand.

    Supreme Court Justices should not need OJT.

  14. Thoreau,

    I hear ya, but I still think that OJT is not a problem with SCOTUS. Each Justice is only one of nine. And since they all have extensive careers in Constitutional jurisprudence, there may be an issue with error compoundment – they all are so used to an old error that they no longer question it, and use it as precedent to continue in the wrong direction.

    Someone without the history of such jurisprudence might be more likely to examine the basis of such past precedent. So I’m very much in favor of bringing ‘outsiders’ onto the Court.

    Not that I think Miers was herself likely to have any of those qualities.

  15. Is Alito a member of the Federalist Society, that association of libertarian/conservative lawyers that Miers refused to join?

  16. Miers did pretty horribly in the interviews she had with the judiciary committee. “Uninformed” seemed to be the overwhelming consensus from both sides of the aisle. I don’t care where she went to school, that is not acceptable.

  17. Regarding the spousal notification abortion case from the link above:

    Judge Alito then noted that the spousal notification provision at issue did not give the husband a veto power. Rather, a married woman simply had to certify (through her own uncorroborated and unnotarized statement) either that she had notified her husband, or that her case fell within any one of several statutory exceptions, including:

    (1) [The husband] is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) [the woman seeking an abortion] has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her

    That along with the “I’m just applying O’Connor here” verbage may save his nomination.

  18. I am sure the first question asked at his confirmation hearing will be “are you or have you ever been a member of the Federalist Society?” Of course as soon as he answers in the affirmative the Democrats will expect him to give up a list of everyone he has ever seen at these subversive meetings.

  19. they all are so used to an old error that they no longer question it, and use it as precedent to continue in the wrong direction.

    Someone without the history of such jurisprudence might be more likely to examine the basis of such past precedent. So I’m very much in favor of bringing ‘outsiders’ onto the Court.

    in other words, mr quasibill, someone like miers would have been a potentially excellent revolutionary, which is what you’d like to see the court constituted of — people who are willing to rewrite precedent in favor of an (your?) “correct” ideology.

    thanks, but no thanks.

  20. fwiw, we can all dance around this for a while, but in the end this is an opening shot across the bow fired out of weakness and a major step for the moonbat right within a largely sensible republican constituency. the administration, apparently rattled by the discord in its activist social conservative base and facing political impotence, necessarily reverted to the politics of base excitement and nominated one of the conservative moonbat heroes — giving them a window on the political armageddon they’ve been dreaming of in ever larger terms since newt’s kids in 1994, and perhaps since 1980 and reagan — an attempt at the manifestation of a metaphysical dream of the world, a conservative stab at impossible utopia.

    it may not be a popular conservative revolution by any means, but it cannot be dismissed — motivated militant moonbats on the warpath are very dangerous in an open society even as a small minority.

  21. I like the part where various Democrats keep saying, “He isn’t on the list of SCOTUS nominees we gave the President to pick from.” And the way so many national media sources can report such with a straight face.

  22. Another good one Larry is liberals saying with a straight face “this is Justice O’Conner’s seat and we need a justice just like her”. The same people who appointed left wing moonbat Ruth Bader Ginsburg to replace mainline conservative Bryon White. What about White’s seat on the court? I guess he didn’t get one.

  23. “in other words, mr quasibill, someone like miers would have been a potentially excellent revolutionary, which is what you’d like to see the court constituted of — people who are willing to rewrite precedent in favor of an (your?) “correct” ideology.

    thanks, but no thanks.”

    Nope. Not even close.

    Personally, I prefer a SCOTUS that is well balanced, with extremists on all sides of every spectrum. That way they challenge each other’s assumptions, and force them to defend every point they make. Having people from different backgrounds is one step in that direction.

    Furthermore, I like the idea of lessening the concept that the Constitution is some sort of complex document that requires years of study to understand. I don’t like the idea that only Ivy-educated lawyers can possibly understand what is the proper interpretation. This is only a symptom of the larger problem of the abdication of personal moral responsibility.

    In other words, I would love the idea of a non-lawyer on the Court, who, when Scalia writes that it’s not unreasonable to search someone’s home when they go on vacation to Florida (because we all know Florida is a drug trafficking haven) would call BS! Likewise when a Souter says that making it easier for a large private company to make more money is a public purpose.

    Sometimes (often?) the Court gets caught up in a lot of mental masturbation, throwing around ridiculous legalisms to hide absurd results. As I said in another thread, I have no special love for Brennan or Marshall, but they added something to the Court that is sorely missing today.

  24. ‘I like the part where various Democrats keep saying, “He isn’t on the list of SCOTUS nominees we gave the President to pick from.”‘

    You mean the way Clinton did with Orrin Hatch for the Ginsburg and Breyer nominations?

    Yeah, those liberals, where do they get the crazy idea that Supreme Court nominations shouldn’t be rammed down the Senate’s throat?

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