Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia is President Bush’s new pick for the Supreme Court. His record on abortion rights and church-state issues has been applauded by conservatives and criticized by liberals, says the Washington Post. Alito was also among those suggested by conservative intellectuals as an alternative to Harriet Miers, the White House counsel who withdrew as the nominee last week.
Some Democrats, including Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nv.), have threatened to oppose Alito. The liberal People for the American way announced the launch of a “massive national effort” to prevent Alito’s confirmation. Alito is Bush’s second choice in a month for the seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. While Alito has been dubbed “Scalito” for a supposed affinity to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, that greatly oversimplifies his record. His appeals court record is not uniformly conservative. Last year, for example, he ruled in favor of a complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by a boy badly bullied by his classmates who was seeking legal relief but lost in a federal trial court.