To be officially announced this morning at 8:
WASHINGTON – President Bush is nominating Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, The Associated Press has learned, choosing a long-time federal judge embraced by judicial conservatives to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Bush plans to announce the nomination at 8 a.m. EST, officials said.
The choice likely will mend a rift in the Republican Party caused by his failed nomination of Harriet Miers.
While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush’s allies on the right, Democrats have served notice that his nomination would spark a partisan brawl. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito’s nomination would “create a lot of problems.”
Unlike Miers, who has never been a judge, Alito, a 55-year-old jurist from New Jersey, has been a strong conservative voice on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since former President George H.W. Bush seated him there in 1990.
So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed “Scalito” or “Scalia-lite” by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.
Trick or treat …
Nicknamed “Scalito” for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal. His mettle, as well as a personable demeanor and ties to former Republican administrations, has long had observers buzzing about his potential rise to the high court. “Sam Alito is in my mind the strongest candidate on the list” says Pepperdine law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. “I know them all . . . but I think Sam is a standout because he’s a judge’s judge. He approaches cases with impartiality and open-mindedness.”
John Hawkins at Right Wing News surveyed a group of bloggers (including yours truly) to find out who their top choices would be. Alito made the number 4 spot.
Patterico: “… he is a careful judge and an adherent to the rule of law and a limited role for the courts.”
Michelle Malkin has a link roundup of blogger reax.
Matt Margolis has started the Coalition to Confirm Alito.
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