Saturday, November 05, 2005

Michael: Alito Nomination Support Soft?

Though harranged by Bush from Air Force One, Senator Arlen Specter refused to promise Bush to bring ScAlito's nomination to the floor of the Senate by Christmas. It looks like Bush won't be getting a visit from Santa this year.

Specter's reluctance to rush the confirmation hearings may be sign of the softening support for Alito among key conservative groups, and strong opposition by the left. Polling on the nomination shows the candidate's surprising weakness - on par with early support for failed nominee Harriet Miers.

Via Yahoo News:
"Early support for Alito, however, is considerably weaker among such key groups as evangelical Christians, Republicans and the wealthy than it was for newly confirmed Chief Justice John Roberts, according to an AP-Ipsos poll conducted Monday through Wednesday.

About four in 10 respondents — 38 percent — backed Alito's confirmation. Twenty-two percent voiced strong support.

For Roberts, 47 percent said in July that they supported his confirmation, 36 percent strongly.

The survey of 1,006 adults put public sentiment for Alito closer to the level of early backing for the failed nomination of Harriet Miers, Bush's first pick who withdrew amid mounting criticism from conservative Republicans. They said the White House counsel and Bush confidant had thin credentials on constitutional law and no proven record as a judicial conservative.

Nearly two-thirds of evangelicals supported Roberts' confirmation, with half strongly backing him. For Alito, about half of evangelicals support his confirmation, one-third strongly. There were similar drops among Republicans and among people who make more than $75,000 a year."

Why is ScAlito's support softer than Roberts' was? Part of it might be that while Roberts was replacing Rhenquist, ScAlito is aiming to replace centrist O'Connor, whom many evanglicals see as the key vote to kill Roe. They may not feel as sure as they would like of ScAlito's ideological pedegree on this issue. As I pointed out in an earlier post, evangelical's focus on Roe is misguided on jurisprudential grounds; their interests are better served by judges who have a track record of undermining womens' reproductive autonomy, as does ScAlito, and Roberts. The confirmation process and their own leadership may educate on them on this point and firm up ScAlito's support.

Support among conservatives may eventually stiffen, but in the face of growing liberal concern about ScAlito's nomination, it might not be enough to keep key "Gang of Fourteen" fingers from the filibuster button. Despite early signals from Senators DeWine, Nelson, Johnson and Pryor, it remains unseen whether these key votes will find "extraordinary circumstances" in the course of the confirmation hearing. Given ScAlito's 15 years on the bench and extensive paper trail, it's a good bet that something "extraordinary" will turn up.

Of course, if that happens and the veto is sustained over GOP a attempt to use the unconstitutional nuclear option, I will get to say, "I told you so" again. At that point, I'm going to incorporate and go into business as a political psychic advisor.


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