Friday, January 13, 2006

My Grudging Support for Alito

Samuel Alito has completed his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I didn’t get a chance to view much of the hearings, but I read as much of the coverage as I could. And, at the end of it all, I just don’t see any compelling reasons to oppose Alito’s confirmation.

I have been pretty on-the-fence about this nominee. President Bush had promised to nominate a judge like Scalia and Thomas and after John Roberts proved to be less ideological than Bush’s preferred judges, I had to assume Alito would be more in the hard-right mold. I am wary of judges, whether liberal or conservative, who use their position to try to remake the nation as they see fit. Scalia and Thomas have a tendency to get activist and while I do agree with the two men from time to time, I am wary of their agendas.

So there was a decent chance that I’d end up opposing Alito. But there wasn’t enough there. Does he seem to have a preference for siding with those in power and against those without it? Yes. But that’s not always a bad thing. Is he, as some Democrats have clumsily tried to claim, a closet racist or sexist? There’s absolutely no proof of that. Does he have a personal agenda in the way that Scalia and Thomas seem to? That’s the million-dollar question and I have concluded no, he doesn’t have a driving agenda, even though he does have firm convictions.

In the end, I have to offer grudging support for Alito’s confirmation. He’s not a justice I would have chosen (I’d prefer someone more clearly in the O’Connor or Anthony Kennedy mold), but he is highly qualified, extremely intelligent and seemingly without an activist agenda. That’s enough for me.

Update: The always intelligent Charging RINO has a slightly different take that's well worth reading.

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