Originally Published: November 3, 2005 12:48 p.m.
Federal Appeals Court Judge Sam Alito made a big mistake in letting President George W. Bush nominate him to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U. S. Supreme Court.
He didn’t show up for his introductory press conference wearing a T-shirt with a drawing of a fetus with a cross mark through it. That surely would have endeared him immediately to Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York.
He instead showed up as one of the most experienced Supreme Court nominees in history. He’s a jurist of whom a former clerk said, “In all the years I’ve known Judge Alito, and I’ve known him for about a decade and I’ve worked closely with him, I’ve never seen him inject his personal views into a case.”
That’s just his problem with Kennedy, Schumer et. al. Alito knows the law well, and he applies it to a situation – not injecting his views into it or Kennedy’s or Schumer’s.
The left-wing nuts let John Roberts through as chief justice, because his confirmation wouldn’t have changed the balance on the court, but O’Connor was a swing vote who often swung the way the leftists liked, especially on the abortion issue. However, Alito’s vote is nowhere close to a sure thing, and that’s what troubles them.
Justice O’Connor, remember, is the swing vote that affirmed the repeal of the First Amendment guarantee of free speech in the so-called McCain-Feingold campaign reform law. It’s more like an incumbent relief act, because it shuts advertisements by interest groups out of election campaigns.
Justice Alito has a strong belief in the First Amendment, and in that sense, he’d be a great addition to the court the next time it rules on McCain-Feingold.
Liberals are raising the possibility of a filibuster, and Republicans are threatening the constitutional option to ensure the majority vote on Supreme Court nominees the founders intended.
If that’s what it takes to get a qualified justice with an allegiance to the constitution on the court, let’s start the ball.