Monday, October 31, 2005

Schumer: Nomination of Alito "Divisive"

Said Judiciary member Charles Schumer, "It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America," throwing in the obligatory reference to Sandra Day O'Connor. Minority Leader Harry Reid joined Schumer in expressing scorn at the President's choice, and at the fact that Alito is male and not Hispanic. Majority Leader Bill Frist characterized nominee Altio as "unquestionably qualified."

The American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal think tank, was one of the first to embrace Scalito, as he is termed, remarking on his similarity to Thomas and Scalia. Previous opinions of Alito's on the Third, in Planned Parenthood vs Casey, against the Family and Medical Leave Act, and in favor of strip searches by police have earned him notoriety with more liberal observers. In the 1996 case Sheridan v. Dupont, Alito decided in favor of a more onerous burden of proof in sex discrimination cases.

In this post, blogger A3G takes issue with the sobriquet. Says she, "...the unassuming Judge Alito isn't nearly as forceful a personality as Justice Scalia," going on to compare Luttig to a "pack of hungry wolves." Alito lacks Roberts's prior anonymity and has stances untenable to many Democrats. His controversial rulings in cases involving women and minorites will give the controversy a fervent tone. Judge Alito's gender and race make him all the more appealing a target. Though he lacks any personal or ethical pecadilloes, and this probably won't reach Bork or Thomas proportions, one can expect a contentious confirmation battle.

Many minds have weighed in on Specter's feelings about nominee Alito. I, for one, think that Specter, know for his docility, and knowing of his tenuous place among more conservative colleagues, will cooperate with the adminstration in the nomination process. A defeat at Specter's doing would be too much to bear, and could lead to his ouster as Judiciary chairman. A situation like this calls for tact and tactility, hard-hitting questions and even better answers, and I think Specter has what it takes.

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