January 31, 2006
By a vote of 58-42, Samuel Alito has become the 110th justice of the United States Supreme Court. He will be sworn in today and will apparently attend the President’s State of the Union adress this evening.
Personally, I think the Democrats’ made a big mistake in pushing for the hearings to be held this year rather than last fall. I suppose the original intention was to give them time to dig up dirt on Alito and to hope that the political landscape would change. As it turned out, the dirt they found wasn’t enough to slow Alito down and even the change in the political landscape precipitated by the NSA wiretapping scandal couldn’t help them convince America that Alito was dangerous. On the other side, I think the timing of the confirmation works out wonderfully for Bush, who can now trumpet his victory in his address with the event still fresh in people’s memories (and with a beaming Justice Alito sitting in the chamber near new Chief Justice John Roberts, a good visual for TV). Of course, the timing is only one of many mistakes made by Democrats in their approach to the confirmation process. All in all, I call this a big win for Bush, provided Alito lives up to his judicial reputation.
UPDATE: The linked article mentions this, but in case you didn’t want to click over, Lincoln Chaffee (R – RI) was the only Republican to vote against Alito while Democrats Robert Byrd (D – WV), Tim Johnson (D – SD), Ben Nelson (D – NE), and Kent Conrad (D – ND) voted in favor.