Monday, October 31, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the WaPo write-up: Bush Selects Alito for Supreme Court

Alito, appointed to the appeals court in 1990 by George H.W. Bush, has been a regular for years on the White House high court short list. He was also among those proposed by conservative intellectuals as an alternative to Harriet Miers, the White House counsel who withdrew as the nominee last week.


Alito’s resume, including a degree from the Yale Law School and service in the Reagan administration Justice Department, is very much unlike Miers’, who had no appellate experience, and very much like that of Chief Justice John Roberts.


Unlike Roberts, he has opined from the bench on both abortion rights, church-state separation and gender discrimination to the pleasure of conservatives and displeasure of liberals.

The paper rightly notes that there will be significant focus on his role in Casey. Indeed, after “Scalito” the word that we will all hear the most of over the next several weeks is “Casey”:

Rather, liberals are likely to focus on his opinions and dissents, most notably in the 1991 case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

In that case, Alito joined joined a Third Circuit panel in upholding most of a Pennsylvania law imposing numerous restrictions on women seeking abortions. The law, among other things, required physicians to advise women of the potential medical dangers of abortion and tell them of the alternatives available. It also imposed a 24 hour waiting period for abortions and barred minors from obtaining abortions without parental consent.

The panel, in that same ruling, struck down a single provision in the law requiring women to notify their husband’s before they obtained an abortion. Alito dissented from that part of the decision.

“The Pennsylvania legislature,” Alito wrote, “could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands’ knowledge because of perceived problems — such as economic constrains, future plans, or the husbands’ previously expressed opposition — that may be obviated by discussion prior to abortion.”

The question becomes: what will the Gang of 14 think of this nomination? I had half-expected the President to pick someone who had been confirmed in some capacity more recently to make an “extraordinary circumstances” argument less likely.

Still, practically any nominee is going to create a fight with the Democrats. Indeed, the only element of the Miers’ nomination that was positive was that it was not, at least initially, creating such a fight.

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4 Responses to “More Alito”

  1. Terry Says:

    It is Official now, not just “AP” official. Bush just announced Judge Alito as the nominee.

    In other news, Senator Ted Kennedy (D – Arkham Asylum) just gave birth to a fully-formed, loudly quacking duck.

  2. The Misanthrope Says:

    Moderates and people who believe in personal rights are in big trouble. What a shame that we cannot find someone (president) to govern in the middle.

  3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    I honestly think that that is an overblown concern. Aside from abortion, which I maintain is goign nowhere, Roe or no Roe, what “individual rights” are you concerned about?

  4. The Misanthrope Says:

    I hope you’re right about it being overblown, but I’m not so sure.

    Based on what I am reading and hearing, it sounds as though the right to choose could be in serious jeopardy.

    Alito would help overturn Roe v. Wade [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

    Alito supports unauthorized strip searches [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

    Alito would allow race-based discrimination: [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

    Alito would allow disability-based discrimination [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]

    Alito would strike down the family and medical leave act [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

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