Democrats hoping to torpedo the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito have a problem, said Michael Kinsley in Slate.com. After 15 years on the bench, Alito's credentials are 'œbeyond dispute.' And unlike the acerbic Robert Bork, the last high court nominee voted down, Alito is modest and likable—and 'œnot scary-looking.' That leaves Democrats with one 'œserious argument': that he is 'œtoo conservative.' But Bush won the election, and any nominee he picks is going to be a conservative. So what, precisely, does too conservative mean? To justify a filibuster and an all-out fight, Democrats must demonstrate that Alito is an extremist—the kind of conservative who would eliminate the right to privacy, overturn Roe v. Wade, and ban affirmative action. In short, Democrats must show they are saving the nation 'œfrom something really bad.'
That strategy simply won't work, said Dennis Coyle in National Review Online. Alito is a conservative of a different stripe, dedicated to a careful reading of the Constitution and a reasoned application of judicial precedent. Nothing in his long record of appellate rulings suggests 'œhe burns with desire' to implement a conservative agenda. In 1995, for example, he ruled on the side of Medicaid recipients seeking abortions, voting to strike down a Pennsylvania law requiring them to name their attackers if they'd been raped. He recently ruled in favor of public housing tenants who claimed officials violated their contract by raising gas rates. Because Alito is so judicious, said Robert Bork, also in National Review, we don't know whether he would overturn activist rulings like Roe. But at least we can be confident he 'œwill not start inventing yet new and previously unheard-of constitutional rights.'
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