Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Two things on Alito

President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court today. I thought Harriet Miers was a poor choice and was glad that she withdrew her name from consideration. My initial impression is that Bush has selected a great candidate based on his background and judicial philosophy, but it's too early to say much more than that.

The criticism of Alito as too conservative strikes me as odd. First, Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns were remarkably consistent on this - he said over and over that he would appoint conservative judges in the mold of Thomas and Scalia. Second, I find it hard to believe that Alito is any more conservative than Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was approved 96-3, is liberal. Elections matter.

Those weren't my two things, though. I noticed two strange items over the past month that I haven't read much about. First, we shouldn't have been surprised by the Miers choice - Bush has a habit of selecting the person he chose to head-up the selection process. If you recall, that's precisely how Dick Cheney became the Vice-Presidential nominee. If I was a potential presidential candidate hoping for his endorsement in 2008, I'd sign-up for the job of vetting Bush's potential successor right now!

Second, when the complaints about Miers began pouring in, there were a number of unnamed White House officials who let it be known that many of the candidates conservatives wanted had declined to be considered. In other words, the best options simply weren't options.

Based on this weekend's list of finalists and the ultimate choice, that appears to have been absolutely false.