Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Prelude to a Win

According to Ann Althouse and Google's translation tool, "Alito" means "A breath of fresh air" in Italian. So I'm optimistic. Good signs so far:
  • The New York Times made good noises:
    The reasoning in Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s decisions is mostly methodical, dry and respectful of precedent, but the technical quality of his writing can mask bold and solidly conservative conclusions on issues like abortion, gun control and the death penalty.

    President Bush's last two nominees to the Supreme Court had nothing like Judge Alito's enormous judicial track record. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s brief tenure on the federal appeals court in Washington before his recent elevation gave rise to few memorable decisions, and Harriet E. Miers's lack of judicial experience may have played a role in the withdrawal of her nomination.

    Judge Alito, by contrast, has tackled many of the biggest issues in American law in his 15 years on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia. He is not given to flamboyant writing or overarching theories. His decisions are careful, thorough and lucid, and his writing is seldom ambiguous or weighed down by legal jargon.
    Another NYTimes piece paints Scalito as a conservative "nice guy":
    Throughout his life - ever since he resolved his high school indecision between his dream of a career in baseball or a life in law - the self-effacing Judge Alito, President Bush's new choice for the Supreme Court, has made his mark with quiet dedication rather than showy display. He has cloaked his formidable intellect in modesty, an attribute both surprising and endearing to colleagues in high-octane legal circles.

    While Judge Alito, 55, has built a reputation for decency, he has also compiled a conservative record that is coming under intense scrutiny from activists on the left and the right who understand his potential for shifting the balance on the bench.

    Larry Lustberg, a former federal prosecutor who has known Judge Alito for 22 years, called him "totally capable, brilliant and nice."

    But Mr. Lustberg added, "Make no mistake: he will move the court to the right, and this confirmation process is really going to be a question about whether Congress and the country wants to move this court to the right."

    As a federal appeals court judge for 15 years, Judge Alito has amassed a more extensive paper record than either John G. Roberts Jr., who sailed through his confirmation as chief justice, or Harriet E. Miers, the White House counsel, who withdrew after withering attacks on her credentials and conservative bona fides.

    Judge Alito's jurisprudence has been methodical, cautious, respectful of precedent and solidly conservative, legal scholars said. In cases involving the great issues of the day - abortion, the death penalty and the separation of church and state - Judge Alito has typically taken the conservative side.

    Yet he has not flaunted his political views inside or outside the courthouse. Friends say Judge Alito seems to have inherited a distaste for shows of ideology from his father, an Italian immigrant who became research director for the New Jersey Legislature and had to rigorously avoid partisanship.
    Glenn Reynolds says the relatively positive coverage is encouraging.

  • The Washington Post compares Alito to Roberts and says his Third Circuit confirmation was a "cakewalk":
    The real Sam Alito, according to the lawyers and other friends who know him well, is more like the second coming of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., but with a longer paper trail. They describe Alito as a studious, diligent, scholarly judge with a first-rate mind and a deadpan sense of humor, a neutral arbiter who does not let personal beliefs affect his legal judgments. . .

    McDonald, Alito's classmate, recalled that teachers often excluded his scores when they graded on a curve, because he was so far ahead of everyone else. "We all knew A's were not the equivalent of Alito A's," he said. But if Alito was a hero among the nerds, the cool kids liked him, too; he was easily elected student council president. He also played in the school band, ran track and was the editor of the Hy-Liter, the student paper.

    Alito then attended Princeton, where he spent most of his time in the library. He was admitted to the Woodrow Wilson School's politics program, where he spoke at conferences on arms control and privacy, and wrote a thesis on Italy's constitutional court. His thesis adviser, Walter Murphy, recalled him as "probably the most judicious student I ever had," focused like a laser on a legal career.
    Still, the WaPo reprints the raven's call--"nevermore":
    The record is clear: On some of the most contentious issues that came before the high court, Alito has been to the right of the centrist swing voter he would replace. As a result, legal analysts across the spectrum saw the Alito appointment yesterday as a bid by President Bush to tilt the court, currently evenly divided between left and right, in a conservative direction.

    O'Connor "has been a moderating voice on critical civil liberties issues ranging from race to religion to reproductive freedom," said Steven R. Shapiro, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "Judge Alito's nomination . . . therefore calls into question the court's delicate balance that Justice O'Connor has helped to shape and preserve."
    Democrats: the Constitution doesn't promise you a rose garden, much less any "balance" at the court. If liberals want to balance the Court, start by winning the Rose Garden.

  • Election victories being difficult, Dems -- specifically the DNC -- took the low road to smear Alito:
    Judge “Scalito” Has Long History of States Rights, Anti-Civil Rights, And Anti-Immigrant Rulings
    The horror! Imagine that: reading the Constitution and relevant statutes!

    SaveOurCourts.org echoes this overstatement:
    Alito has compiled an extensive, extreme right-wing judicial record on numerous matters of importance to the protection of the rights and interests of ordinary Americans -- a record that has earned him the nickname "Scalito" for his ideological resemblance to Justice Antonin Scalia. Alito's judicial opinions demonstrate that he is an out of the mainstream opponent of fundamental legal rights and protections for all Americans and must not be confirmed to the Supreme Court. For example:

    Hostile to basic reproductive privacy rights: Alito wants government to be able to interfere in personal decisions on reproductive rights.
    Of course, these attacks just prove Dems can't distinguish between a decision's results and its reasoning.

  • The children of Kos are inflamed, if confused:
    Dems shouldn't even permit hearings until an independent counsel or commission is appointed to uncover all the treason and fraud at the White House. Period.
Score: Good guys 4, Liberals -3.

(via RedState.Org)


ScurvyOaks said...

The White House appears to have given productive thought to the question of what made Bork borkable. Part of the answer is Bork's personality.

By contrast, Alito is a studious, mild-mannered, nice guy who writes clear, boring opinions and has a quiet sense of humor. You could not pick a better personality for a nominee who will move the Court to the right. Woo-hoo!!

SC&A said...

It is absolutely astonishing to me how bereft of brains, proportion and common sense the left can be.


@nooil4pacifists said...

SC&A needs a dose of Scurvy's cynicism.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Lustberg's comment is interesting, that the confirmation process will be about whether Congress and the country want to move the court to the right.

I thought that's what elections were for.