News agencies are reporting that the president will nominate Third Circuit Court of Appeals judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court this morning. Here are a few biographical links: (USNews, ACSBlog, Wiki, more to come).
Ugh. This is going to be a most unpleasant process.
[Update: Statement from Frist: "This morning, President Bush nominated Judge Sam Alito as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. With this selection, the president has chosen a proven nominee that meets the highest standards of excellence."
Statement from Schumer: "It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us. This controversial nominee, who would make the Court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people." [via Hotline On Call].
The right and left are really spoiling for the kind of fight here that eluded them with the Roberts nomination. The middle will probably be, well, caught in the middle. -- 8:01 a.m.]
[Update: In his nominating statement, Bush talks up Alito's experience big time, mentioning his "breadth" of expertise, his many arguments before the Supreme Court (12) and his "passionate commitment to the rule of law," says he has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme Court nominee in seventy years (see? He's not Miers!). He is "a thoughtful judge, who considers the legal merits carefully and applies the law in a principled fashion," Bush says. He's "confident that the United States Senate will be impressed" with Alito, and urges a vote before the end of the year.
Alito says he's "deeply honored," "very grateful." Mentions the "reverence" with which he views the Supreme Court (sounds almost exactly like Roberts' statement a few months ago). Notes that during his first oral argument at the Court, O'Connor threw him a softball for his first question. Says he will be a "fair, conscientious, and temperate" judge.
Alito will now head immediately to Capitol Hill to begin the meet-n-greet process.
The nominee clearly has a great range of experience and a tremendous paper trail. There will be much to digest, debate, and discuss over the next few weeks. I make no judgment on the nomination yet, pending the hearings. -- 8:16 a.m.]
[Update: "The base" is, as they say, energized. Alito is already being considered the mirror opposite of Harriet Miers. And I have to wonder, as I did back on the morning that Miers was nominated, whether her whole nomination was nothing more than a political stunt to rally the base for exactly this moment. -- 10:03 a.m.]