A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Alito's not going to be a radical"

AP: Alito Seen As a Pragmatic Conservative---

WASHINGTON - Samuel Alito is poised to join a tradition of pragmatic justices who have moved the Supreme Court to the right in measured steps.

Eighteen hours of questions over four days showed President Bush's nominee to be a judge respectful of legal precedent but hardly starry-eyed. Alito also displayed a strong inclination toward executive authority, a trait not surprising for a lifetime government employee and former Reagan Justice Department lawyer.

By the design of Bush administration officials and despite Democratic efforts to smoke him out, almost nothing was learned in Senate confirmation hearings about Alito's views on transcendent issues likely to come before the court, such as abortion.

Instead, legal experts say, the hearings may have provided more understanding of Alito's influence on the court's changing dynamics when he replaces retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the decisive vote on abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty.

For example, while Alito will fit comfortably in the conservative camp of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, legal experts see him as being closer to Scalia than Thomas in his incremental approach to overturning what the court has done before.

"Alito's not going to be a radical," said Christopher Wolfe, a political science professor at Marquette University.
Thank God for that!