Sunday, October 30, 2005

It's Alito or Luttig

SCOTUSblog is reporting that a nomination is imminent:

Several news organizations were saying Saturday night that President Bush is expected to announce a new nominee to the Supreme Court either on Sunday or Monday, and that the President has narrowed the choice to two federal circuit judges: Samuel A. Alito, Jr., 55, of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and J. Michael Luttig, 51, of the Fourth Circuit in Richmond. (As usual, the How Appealing blog is on top of these news developments.)

The choice of either of those two would signal that the President was more concerned about drawing his most conservative followers back into the fold than he would be about averting a major fight with Senate Democrats by putting forward a "consensus nominee."

If either of those two is nominated (and some of the news accounts suggested that the final decision had not yet been made), Senate Democrats are expected to mount a vigorous opposition campaign.

See also Law.com, Poliblog, and another great post by Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice.

I'll withhold comment for now, but -- and I'm taking a deep breath as I prepare to write this -- I'm not sure I'd mind either Alito or Luttig. At least as far as a conservative nominee would go (and I think we have to expect a fairly conservative nominee -- let's not delude ourselves into thinking that Bush will pick a "moderate" (unless it's Gonzales, but that doesn't look likely)). Neither one is a Brown or an Owen or some other right-wing ideologue in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

Indeed, back in July, prior to Roberts's nomination, I even offered a different take on Luttig and argued that he might "be an acceptable replacement for a conservative justice like Rehnquist". This is now about replacing O'Connor, not Rehnquist, but let's at least keep our minds open for now.

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