10-31-05 - President Bush, stung by the rejection of his first choice, nominated longtime judge Samuel Alito in a bid to reshape the Supreme Court and mollify his conservative allies. Democrats said that Alito may be "too radical for the American people."
"Judge Alito has served with distinction on that court for 15 years, and now has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in more than 70 years," Bush said, drawing an unspoken contrast to his first choice, Harriet Miers.
Unlike her nomination, which was derailed Thursday by Bush's conservative allies, Alito faces opposition from Democrats.
"The Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.
"The Supreme Court is an institution I have long held in reverence," said the bespectacled judge, a former prosecutor and government attorney who has argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court. "During my 29 years as a public servant, I've had an opportunity to view the Supreme Court from a variety of perspectives."
From the bench, Alito has staked out positions supporting restrictions on abortion, such as parental and spousal notification.
Wasting no time, the White House arranged for Alito to go to the Capitol after the announcement.The schedule called for Senate Majority Leader Bill First to greet him and accompany the nominee to the Capitol Rotunda to go to the coffin of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.