Warning Will Robinson, Warning: Samuel A. Alito, Jr. Nominated to Supreme Court


President Bush moved to distract the nation from the fact that his White House is the first to sustain an indictment of one of its most senior officials in 130 years by nominating Appellate Court Judge Samuel Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court.
As friends I was with this morning said, “Now we can finally say with certainty that Harriet Miers would have been a better choice.”
Alito apparently ruled that a woman would have to notify her husband before getting an abortion. I need to learn more about this case, and about other decisions he has participated in, but when I hear Fox News gleeful that he cuts a profile similar to Antonin Scalia, I can’t think of a worse “type” to add to the Supreme Court now.
As I watched the President’s announcement of the Alito nomination on one station this morning, I watched C-Span 2’s live coverage of American citizens streaming past the coffin of Rosa Parks in the Capitol Rotunda.
Would Judge Alito have viewed the Supreme Court’s orders on desegregation as judicial activism? One wonders.
I know little of Alito other than the fact that he is adored by Gary Bauer, believes in a limited role for the courts in our society (as he stated this morning), he has significant legal and judicial experience, and is a dependable conservative who apparently has ruled in the past that a woman’s reproductive decisions are not hers alone.
And stating the obvious, Bush clearly negated the opportunity to further extend either the racial or gender diversity of the Supreme Court.
This blog — and many other commentators — have bemoaned the behavior and decisions of this President who believed he was only subject to a reality of his own making, that he “made his own weather.” There were few constraints from Congress or the Courts on this monarchial President.
Now, George W. Bush is far weaker than he was. He is being knocked back by constraints and is playing to his base now of fundamentalist social conservatives. The pretense of playing to any sort of middle is over.
Now battles will rage over Alito, and they should. But regrettably, it’s not clear to me that Democrats or moderate Republicans who believe in a woman’s right to make her own decisions — or in gay civil rights — are organized and ready for this fight.
To make matters worse, Karl Rove is chomping at the bit to show that he has shaken off the Fitzgerald scare and is back in control.
Those opposed to a major redirection in the ideological direction of the Supreme Court better not go “wobbly” now. Accommodationists and weak players on either side are going to be severely judged by their constituents.
— Steve Clemons