SCOTUS rumor mill says Alito is the pick

One never really knows with this sort of thing (always expect bait and switch), but here’s the latest, with Bush naming Samuel Alito, possibly tomorrow.

President Bush neared a decision on a new nominee for the Supreme Court as Republican lawmakers suggested Sunday he should pick a solid conservative with a track record as a judge.

But the Senate’s top Democrat raised the possibility of “a lot of problems” if Bush settles on federal appeals judge Samuel Alito to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a swing voter on abortion and other social issues. Others said to be under consideration include federal appeals court judges J. Michael Luttig, Karen Williams, Priscilla Owen and Alice Batchelder as well as Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.

…A judge on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has been dubbed “Scalito” or “Scalia-lite” by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s.

“That is not one of the names that I’ve suggested to the president,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told “Late Edition” on CNN. “In fact, I’ve done the opposite. I think it would create a lot of problems.”

…To avoid a repeat of Miers’ failed bid, Bush’s nominee will need the support from conservatives that Miers lacked and backing from moderates to escape a Senate filibuster.

American Values President Gary Bauer, a prominent [and tiny] conservative, said he would support a nominee such as Alito as well as federal appeals judges Janice Rogers Brown and Emilio Garza because they are proven conservatives who would strictly interpret the Constitution.

“For me, the criteria has to be to find that individual that has the right philosophy and the right experience to get through a confirmation process,” Bauer said. “There are women that fit those characterizations. There are Hispanics, African-Americans.”

A good profile of Alito is here, and has a shortlist of other anti-gay possibilities if it’s not Alito.

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