Supreme Court Balance at Stake as “Scalito” Hearings Begin

Bush_alitoHearings finally begin today over the SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito. The NYT offers a primer on what will be asked of him, and what he is expected to answer. Alito’s paper trail is much greater than that of Chief Justice John Roberts, whose nearly impenetrable facade left many with questions about his character. The stakes in the Alito confirmation are much higher however, as he is replacing swing voter Sandra Day O’Connor and is not a one-for-one conservative swap as was Roberts. Presidential power and the right to privacy will be issues at the top of the list.

Ted Kennedy set the stage for the hearings yesterday, reports AmericaBlog, relating Alito’s views on abortion with those of failed 1987 nominee Robert Bork, and wondering why Alito doesn’t remember belonging to a group called Concerned Alumni of Princeton, whose posture was “anti-black, anti-disabled and anti-women.”

The Nation has drawn up a list of suggested questions having to do with domestic spying, torture and accountability, usurping Congressional power, and other topics.

Senator Schumer and Feinstein warn they may filibuster under certain circumstances. Schumer: “If he continuously, given his previous record, refused to answer questions and hid behind ‘I can’t answer this because it might come before me,’ it would increase the chances of a filibuster.”

Alito to Face Senators’ Queries at Confirmation Hearings Today [nyt]