Senate should confirm Alito for Supreme Court
Published 3:09 pm Monday, January 16, 2006
Samuel Alito, a 15-year federal judge, ended four days of sworn testimony Jan. 12 unscathed compared to the dignity of Democrats determined to dredge up something from his past to undermine his solid support from the Senate's majority Republicans to be the 110th U.S. Supreme Court justice.
Any fair reading of his record indicates he's eminently qualified to sit on the highest court in the land. His credentials are beyond question.
Alito, 55, has served honorably as a federal appeals judge since 1990, earning the respect and accolades of his peers.
Yes, he's conservative, but Alito espouses the kind of judicial restraint President George W. Bush pledged to appoint during two victorious White House campaigns.
Democrats challenged his credibility, judicial philosophy and independence. They attacked his 1985 statement saying the Constitution did not protect the right to an abortion. His wife, Martha-Ann, left the hearings in tears when Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., apologized for the committee's treatment of her husband.
Democrats were said to be considering whether to seek a delay in the Senate Judiciary Committee's vote Tuesday on Alito. That decision could signal whether they'll try to block his nomination.
Clarence Thomas in 1991 won confirmation in a close 52-48 vote.
John Roberts received 78 votes in being confirmed as chief justice because of the perception he was a swap of one conservative, the late William Rehnquist, for another.
Alito enjoys solid support from Republicans, who hold 55 Senate seats. There are 44 Democrats and an independent who tends to vote Democratic.
Alito supporters hoped to attract enough Democratic support to tally at least 60 votes.
Democrats would need 41 votes to sustain a filibuster, a tactic that requires 60 votes to halt debate and force a nomination to a vote.
On the last day of hearings, after 18 hours of interrogation, seven current and former appellate judges from Alito's circuit made the unprecedented move of testifying that he is colleague of the highest integrity and intellect coupled with a cool temperament.
That unnecessarily raised questions about the propriety of judges being involved in the political nomination process since those qualities such as modest, self-effacing, analytical and brilliant, came across in words from Alito's own lips without need for further embellishment.