Our president seems to be missing the point on a variety of issues. While I commend his most recent move in regard to the Supreme Court, he still has a long way to go. Judge Samuel Alito, who has been nominated to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is by far a better candidate than Harriet Miers, but is still lacking.Alito is serving on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has been for 15 years. He was nominated in 1990 by former president George H. W. Bush. At the time, both conservatives and liberals commended him and said that his experience and record served him well.
Alito has had experience not only as a judge, but also as the assistant to the U.S. attorney general, assistant to the U.S. solicitor general and assistant U.S. attorney. He argued his first case in front of the Supreme Court in 1982 and has argued 11 others. He was also authored more than 700 opinions.
Nicknamed “Scalito” in reference to similarities in position with Justice Scalia, Alito leans very far right and has been noted as highly conservative based on many previous rulings. However, others have said that Alito is not just a rubber stamp of Scalia, and a former employee noted that Alito is indeed his own man.
His judicial record indeed speaks for itself. The key issue that could cause a great stir for Alito is abortion. Some people are still worried about the impact such a conservative could have on the direction of the court.
In one very notable case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito was the only dissenter in a case that sought to strike down regulations requiring a woman to notify her spouse before having an abortion.
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are much more accepting of this nomination than that of Miers simply because Alito is highly qualified. After having served on the bench successfully for 15 years, it is presumed that his intelligence and integrity will prevail even when his politics do not.
Justice O’Connor has been characterized as the high court’s swing-vote, and some Democrats fear that Alito may be too conservative to take over her seat. One democrat, Mike DeWine, has not joined their ranks, saying Alito is not radical enough to merit a filibuster in the Senate as per the agreement reached between both political parties in May.
The current era is a time for forward thinking, and progress that embraces and maintains new sociological and technological developments. The court needs someone that is forward thinking and will be able to tackle the changing socio-economic dynamic in America.
Harriet Miers was too inexperienced to meet this vital need. Alito is a polar opposite.
Franklin Roosevelt once said, “A conservative is a man with two very good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.”
While Alito’s judicial record is very impressive, his conservatism has the potential to lead him toward backward thinking.
The only hope is that, if confirmed, Alito will find his own place among the current justices and prove to be more reasonable and moderate than his conservative record would suggest.
Lyndsay Peden is a freshman biology and political science major from Versailles, Ky.