Monday, October 31, 2005

It's Alito.

Worth repeating is this assessment from Volokhian Orin Kerr, a usually reliable source:
[Orin Kerr, October 28, 2005 at 1:03am]
Will It Be Sam Alito?: I've seen some speculation around the blogosphere that Judge Samuel Alito of the Third Circuit may be tapped by President Bush to fill the O'Connor slot, perhaps as early as tomorrow. I know Judge Alito a little bit, and have two quick thoughts. First, Judge Alito is not a Scalia clone, contrary to what some news reports have claimed. Alito picked up the "Scalito" nickname early on, but while clever it's not accurate. Judge Alito is much more of a process-oriented judicial-restraint type than Scalia. While Alito is well-known for his early dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, generally speaking he hasn't approached the job of appellate judge with an ideological edge. Second, Judge Alito is one of the most likable people you'll ever meet. He comes off as modest, quiet, and very thoughtful, but he also has a sharp sense of humor. If picked, I think he will be (and should be) a popular choice in the Senate.

I think Alito is qualified and experienced (I thought that about Miers too) and that his powers of niceness will be a big factor in his eventual confirmation, with solid GOP support and perhaps a few votes from Democrats. But Rich Hasen has another version, an interesting analysis. The opposition to Alito's nomination will probably be stronger than the opposition to Miers, but he probably wants the job more.

(a later update:)
Interesting to note that alito is the son of a guy who worked for the government in New Jersey. Government of new jersey, hereinafter "organized crime." The last time we had a Republican catholic whose father worked for the government in Jersey was Brennan. Tom Brennan was a fire captain, and very concerned with social justice issues. Thurgood Marshall's father, I have read, was a janitor at a courthouse in Kansas City, and would tell stories at the dinner table about cases he'd seen that day. I'd be interested to know more about Alito's father and how that has shaped his world view.
Alito seems to have inherited a distaste for shows of ideology from his father, an Italian immigrant who became research director for the New Jersey Legislature and had to rigorously avoid partisanship.
Judge Alito won prestigious academic prizes while at Princeton and Yale Law School, where he stood out for his conservative views, which were in the minority, as well as for his civility in engaging ideological opponents.

Research director for the Jersey legislature. That would be a great job.
If Dad brought his work home with him, Alito may have been trained for this job his whole life.

Let's start tracking how Alito's record compares with Thomas in correlations with Scalia's voting record.

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