Scalito Is Not A Mystery

Alito is not another stealth nominee. He has a very clear record of rulings. For starters, he would vote to overturn Roe and Casey. In fact, he already voted to overturn Casey:In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito was the sole dissenter on the Third Circuit, which struck a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to consult their husbands. That, in and of itself, should be enough of a reason for every Democratic senator to oppose this nomination. Also, it should be made very clear that the right has openly made such ideological tests acceptable.

Of course, that is not all. Think Progress details Alito's terrible record on civil rights.

Reid and Kennedy have already come out hard in opposition. This is going to be a fight--a big one. Conservatives got their wish.

Rolling updates:

  • Again, for the third nominee in a row, Bush has selected someone with ties to a previous Republican administration. Scalito worked in the SG office during the Reagan administration. This means another argument over documents that should be released. This time, failure to comply should result in Democrats invoking real consequences.

  • You can find Reid's statement here.

  • Nothing like nominating an anti-choice man to replace a pro-choice woman on the Supreme Court. All your bodies are belong to us.

  • Now Bush wants an "up or down vote." I wonder if other conservatives will start to revive that talking point as well, after abandoning it during Miers.

  • Here are some key votes on Alito: Chafee; Collins, Hutchison, Murkowski, Ben Nelson, Snowe, Specter, and Stevens. Obviously, especially Specter, since he is on the judiciary committee.

Bush Expected to Name Next SCOTUS Nominee

Tomorrow, President Bush is expected to nominate a new judge to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who at this point must be wondering if she's ever actually going to be allowed to retire. The far right's campaign to destroy the nomination of Harriet Miers was extremely successful. And with Miers out and the CIA leak investigation taking down the Vice President's Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President Scooter Libby, the right is loudly crowing that the President needs them more than ever. I tend to think that bowing the far right now puts the nail in the coffin of the Republicans, frustrating moderates who already see the GOP as being dominated by the extremists. But then again, I don't work for the President for some very good reasons.

Right now, there are a few names of potential nominees floating around the political ether. Samuel Alito and Michael Luttig are the definite front-runners, but there were other 'definite front-runners' named when O'Connor first announced her retirement who amounted to nothing. So just so you aren't caught by surprised tomorrow morning, here's a list of probable nominees with a bit of information and some important links.  Enjoy...

Samuel Alito

Everything you need to know about Alito can be found in this 2003 profile at The Legal Intelligencer:

There's a nickname for federal appeals Judge Samuel Alito Jr. that captures two things at once -- his particular brand of legal conservatism and a recognition that his credentials are strong enough to put him on any Republican president's short-list for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some lawyers call the judge "Scalito."

Roughly translated, the nickname means "Little Scalia," suggesting that Alito, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has modeled himself after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
. . .
As with Scalia, lawyers say that Alito's vote is easy to predict in highly charged cases.

The key there is not the cute little "Scalito" moniker, but rather the fact that his "vote is easy to predict in highly charged cases." In other words, Alito knows exactly what his right wing masters want from him and will deliver.

Michael Luttig

Lutting may wind up being a more interesting pick than Alito, as he's less predictable. As Armando pointed out, since Luttig is the godfather of the "super-stare decisis" view that Roe v. Wade represents a superprecedent, his nomination could be a "stink bomb" for the far right. However, they've seemingly already vetted him, so perhaps he thinks "super-stare decisis" is something that only applies in the lower courts.

Luttig has perhaps the highest name recognition on this list, so Googling him will probably teach you a great deal, but there's also his Law.com bio if you want to learn more.

There's more...

Miers Withdraws: White House Bows To Far Right

That should be the headline of every newspaper in the nation tomorrow morning, as that's exactly what happened.

The only way for Bush to prove to the nation that he's not a complete and total hypocrite is to nominate a moderate or a moderate conservative. The 'Withdraw Miers' crowd can talk about qualifications all they want, but they have made far too many public statements about her lack of far right credentials to credibly claim that she was pushed out for anything but failing their right wing litmus test. Witness Michelle Malkin openly admitting that the 'documents' excuse was little more than window dressing (emphasis mine, of course):

Exit strategy hinged on refusal to release privileged White House documents. (Ed Morrissey and Charles Krauthammer called it.) Whatever. We know the real reasons. Now, onto a candidate that conservatives can be proud of, okay?

If Bush nominates a Federalist Society partisan like Luttig, Owens, Alito, Brown, etc. he's admitting to the nation that his administration is in deep trouble and needs all the help it can get from his extremist base. He's also admitting that the well-oiled Rove political team has been replaced by Jonah Goldberg and Cornerites.

The right wing fantasy land consensus seems to be that a new, far right Supreme Court nominee will unite the GOP base and lead the party onward and upward to generational dominance. I disagree. I think Bush saw Miers as a blank slate no one could argue with -- the left couldn't attack her, the right would trust his pick, and the center wouldn't care one way or the other. But now he's got to choose. Does he pander to the extremists with a red meat pick, while running the risk of losing whatever moderate support he might still have? Or does he completely burst the bubble of the moderates, who still hold out hope that the Republican Party isn't really controlled by the fringe? Either way, he risks fracturing the already frayed GOP coalition.

From Chris: As we prepare for the next fight, it is important to remember that conservatives do not just want a hard-right justice on the court. It is good that Demcorats are pointing out that this is what conservatives want, and after the Miers fiasco it will not be difficult to promote that meme in the media. However, above and beyond an actual conservative justice, what conservatives really want is a polarized, pitched battle over a hard-right nominee. They want a national fight over a nominee, and they want it drawn in strictly ideological terms. They want Bush to use every last ounce of whatever politcal capital he has left.

What do we want? Prado seems like a good option. I am also watching the wires over at Progressive Law Blogs to see what our legal experts are saying. Of course, as Jack Balkin notes, we certainly are not out of he woods when it comes to getting a wingnut alternative. After all, stopping Bork did not lead directly to Kennedy. It was necessary to stop Ginsberg as well.

Nation Not In Favor of Approving Miers

From Gallup:CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Oct. 21-23, 2005. N=1,008 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

"Now, turning to the U.S. Supreme Court: As you may know, Harriet Miers is the person nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. Would you like to see the Senate vote in favor of Miers serving on the Supreme Court, or not?"

Not in Favor: 43
In Favor: 42
Not Sure: 15

The Miers nomination is quickly turning into a trainwreck. Of course, it is hard to imagine anyone being impressed by a nominee who, when faced with charges from both Democrats and Republicans that she is not qualified, fails to turn in her homework on time. Then, when she gets an extension, waits until the last hour tot urn it in.

I mean, even leaving aside questions about her idological leanings, her performance and the performance of the White House thus far during her nomination have been pathetic.

UPDATE (Scott): Miers Not In Favor of Approving Miers

Is Miers Finished?

For more on Miers, Fiztmas and other legal matters, check out Progressive Law Blogs

Yesterday, turnerbroadcasting linked to the following article:

A Democrat on the Senate committee that will consider Harriet Miers' nomination said Sunday that President Bush's Supreme Court choice lacks the votes now to be confirmed, saying there are too many questions about her qualifications.

"If you held the vote today, she would not get a majority either in the Judiciary Committee or the floor," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. On the 18-member GOP-controlled committee, "there are one or two who said they'd support her as of now."

But the committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, rejected the notion that Miers' nomination was in trouble. Specter said most senators are waiting for the hearings before making up their minds "There are no votes one way or another," he said.

Notice that Specter didn't really refute what Schumer said. According to both of them, there are not enough votes to confirm Miers. Taegan Goddard has more from an insider on the committee:"Many are wondering why the Republicans who criticize the nomination of Miers pushed for the hearings to start Nov. 7th. My understanding is that they are trying to get to a committee vote ASAP, so that they can stop the nomination in committee, while they still have the momentum in the media against her, without dragging the coverage out into the new year. Some GOP Judiciary committee members and senior staff have suggested that this nomination is hurting the Republican party, and that they need to get over this quickly. Thus, there is now talk of the President pulling the nomination. If they vote her out in committee, the Republicans in the Senate save face, and the Democrats lose their credibility to vote against the next nomination.

"Kennedy, Biden, Schumer, Feingold, Durbin, are sure to vote NO as things stand, and Feinstein, Leahy, and Specter aren't far behind. I heard from a Graham staffer that Graham and Hatch are also talking about coming over, but it's only somewhat likely that both will turn. Of course there is Kohl who will probably vote NO if necessary, but I have not heard anything from his office. The only thing I have heard about Brownback is that his staff has advised him against going against the Bush base if he doesn't have to."

I have always believed that Democrats could probably stop the Miers nomination if we wanted too. That certainly seems to be the case now, considering how the Republican elites seem very much to be against her. The unholy alliance remains a real possibility.

However, I still don't know if we want to. Would it just result in a more conservative nominee? Would it create an image problem for the party? On the other hand, would it force the White House into nominating another Kennedy? It also might make the White House even weaker during a time in the Bush administration when they are already weaker than they have ever been.

What do you think? Take the poll in the extended entry.

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