Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Little Nino" he's not...

Ok, I have to admit my heart sank a little when I heard the name of the latest Supreme Court nominee...After all, any judge dubbed “Scalito” is not, to put it mildly, going to be an easy pill for any true-blue Democrat to swallow.

But you know what? It could be worse. Consider the lineup for the final cut: Luttig, Batchelder, Brown (or was it Clement, I don’t remember). That’s a scary bunch of trick-or-treaters, and Alito doesn’t strike me as the scariest. Any hope that Bush would nominate a moderate was a fool’s hope: the writing was on the wall as soon as Miers bowed out. And I'm not persuaded that the current choice warrants a filibuster from the Dems.

Nicknames aside, if Alito’s in the “mold” of any Supreme Court justice, I’d have to say it’s our newly appointed Chief, John Roberts—who, let’s not forget, was originally slated to replace O’Connor rather than Rehnquist. Both Roberts and Alito appear to be highly intelligent, highly credentialed jurists who reach conclusions that may be unacceptable to liberals but are carefully reasoned from a legal standpoint. (And yes, that includes Alito's dissent in Casey.) The one striking difference is in the respective lengths of their previous judicial tenures (and corresponding paper trails). But I see nothing in the record to indicate that Roberts will be any less conservative a justice than Alito. That’s hardly consoling, to be sure. Still, if we must have a rightward shift, at least let’s have justices who can give us good reasons for it.

More later, although many others have weighed in on this topic far more expertly than I have. See http://legalaffairs.org/howappealing for the best compilation of commentaries.


Blogger echan said...

One thing about the current court, however, is that Scalia has a way of alienating his colleagues at times. With the addition of Alito, he could form a triumverate with Thomas and Scalia, and put a "friendlier" face on the court's move to the right.

But, yes, I agree with you, he may not be filibuster material.

12:51 PM  

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