Other campus: Alito and civil liberty (U. South Carolina)

By The Gamecock

(U-WIRE) COLUMBIA, S.C. – Opponents of President Bush’s latest nomination for the Supreme Court are probably overreacting when they voice fears about a right-leaning court that could threaten to overturn such hallmark decisions as Roe v. Wade.

Washington politicians are now bracing for a brawl over Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush’s new nominee to replace swing-voting Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.

The president’s latest selection has hard-line conservatives cheering in the aisles and Democratic leaders such as Senate minority leader Harry Reid foaming at the mouth.

With a man like Alito – who some lawyers have nicknamed “Scalito” because, they say, his opinions resemble those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – on the court, it’s only a matter of time before hard-earned civil liberties come under fire.

But there’s not much evidence to support that assumption. As a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Alito dealt with abortion rights issues in what has suddenly become a closely scrutinized case – and dissented that a woman should tell her husband before getting an abortion. On no occasion has he ever called for the overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision. On the contrary, his reputation as a strict constructionist indicates that he likely would never square off against such an important precedent.

And it should also be noted that while the judge has been likened to Scalia, his keen legal mind and pedigree (he graduated from Yale Law School) have prompted comparisons to newly appointed Chief Justice John Roberts.

While Alito is qualified for the job, it’s unfortunate that President Bush seems more concerned with mollifying his constituency than reaching out to moderate Democrats in the interest of greater national unity.

Staff Editorial

The Gamecock (U. South Carolina)