Alpine Summit

Monday, October 31, 2005

It's About Time!

So Bush finally nominates a "good" person for the SCOTUS. I'm much happier about this guy, though as I said before, I wasn't too concerned about Miers. I didn't think she was a great candidate like Roberts, and after seeing how she splintered the base so much I'm glad she stepped aside so this guy could get the nod.

Lee has his thoughts here. He puts things quite succinctly.

How to translate Bush: “One the most accomplished and respected judges in America” means “He’s not my lawyer, he’s got a clue what he’s doing, and he actually deserves the job I just offered him.” “A deep commitment to justice” means “He’s against abortion.”

Michelle Malkin has a great roundup of the blogosphere as well as her own thoughts here.

Experienced. Well-thought-of by conservative constitutional scholars. Not a diversity/crony pick. Young. This is a nominee the Right can get behind.

More bio/background from Wikipedia (for what it's worth).

She also mentions how it's a good sign Harry Reid doesn't like this guy. I agree whole-heartedly.

Alito seems a lot more like a "Roberts" nomination though a bit more conservative. I'm perfectly fine with that. It's going to drive the libs nuts, but who cares? He may be conservative, but from what I know about him so far he's a principled constructionist. I'm fully expecting to hear about Alito getting a 'C' on law test in high school before hearing about his just constitutional rulings.

UPDATE: Power-Line comments on the ultimate futility of trying to guess Alito's politics based on his circuit court rulings.

This changes once a judge is appointed to the Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court justice, he is entitled to follow his own views on the proper interpretation of the Constitution and of federal statutes. He is not bound to follow the Court's past rulings as a Court of Appeals judge is; instead, he is constrained only by the looser concept of stare decisis, the doctrine that an issue, once decided, should ordinarily not be revisited. Stare decisis is a doctrine that, in principle, is approved of by both liberals and conservatives (historically, more so by conservatives). But everyone agrees there are occasions when the Court should deviate from the usual rule of fidelity to its own past decisions. The Court does, and should, overrule itself when it becomes convinced that an important issue has been wrongly decided. Where liberals and conservatives disagree is not on this principle, but on its application; they have different lists of "wrongly decided" cases. During Judge Alito's confirmation hearing, you will hear Democratic Senators ask for his views on stare decisis and try to lead him to pledge fealty to bulwarks of liberal jurisprudence like Roe v. Wade. But the liberals' enthusiasm for stare decisis is selective.

So, his politics are important because his opinion will be considered legal opinion--not just his opinion on constitutional matters. I can see where a constructionist's views would be scary to liberals.

Also, he talks about stare decisis which is really a relativistic common law doctrine that really gets trumped up by a particular political side when it benefits them. I'm really not concerned with Alito on this because while it is a big factor in Supreme Court decisions, it can be changed anytime and any previous decisions overturned by future cases.