Alito and the Imperial Presidency: The New Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Samuel Alito, Has Supporters and Detractors on Both Sides of the Political Divide Because His Judicial Track Record Is Mixed

By Eddlem, Thomas R. | The New American, November 28, 2005 | Go to article overview

Alito and the Imperial Presidency: The New Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Samuel Alito, Has Supporters and Detractors on Both Sides of the Political Divide Because His Judicial Track Record Is Mixed


Eddlem, Thomas R., The New American


President Bush's October 31 nomination of appellate court Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court was regarded well by Washington, D.C., beltway conservatives, skeptically by constitutionalists, and conspiratorially by liberal Democrats.

Liberal talk-show host and comedienne Stephanie Miller dubbed the Alito nomination "Operation Look the Other Way," because Bush announced the nomination on the Monday after Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, was indicted on perjury and obstruction charges.

Moreover, many on the left argued that Bush intends to "energize the base" of conservatives on his behalf by nominating a solid constitutionalist to the court in order to please rebellious conservatives who balked at his earlier nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers. In that scenario, the nomination would create a huge political fight that would restore Bush's ailing poll numbers and failing support among conservatives.

Skeptical constitutionalists have another scenario sketched out: Alito would preserve precisely the kind of big government "conservatism" embodied by President Bush. They believe Alito will oppose the Roe v. Wade decision on abortion, but otherwise be loyal to the view that the president should have more power. "Sam Alito is just what George Bush is looking for: a big government conservative who will almost always side with the government against the individual, and the federal government against the state," Fox News Channel commentator and former judge Andrew Napolitano told the Daily Princetonian of Princeton University for Oct. 31. Napolitano and Alito both attended Princeton as undergraduates in the early 1970s and have been friends ever since.

Later this year, the high court is slated to rule in the Rumsfeld v. Padilla case, which involves the critical issue of whether American citizens have the unqualified right to trial by jury or whether the president can imprison an American citizen forever without either a trial or even being charged with a crime. Though Alito won't be on the high court when the Padilla case is decided, it is cases such as this where a "big government conservative" who defers to the executive branch on critical individual rights could have a frightening impact on the survival of freedom in the United States. …

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