CNN reports that Samuel A. Alito, Jr., will be the president's next pick for the United States Supreme Court. Does that mean it is time to go nuclear? According to The New York Times, the nuclear option was chosen before the Alito nomination was even made public. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nebraska, is on the front page of this morning's paper offering anticipatory woe and mayhem over Alito.
Alito now sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to which he was apponted by the president's father in 1990. Before that, he kicked around Washington, wasting a Yale Law School education pimping for Attorney General Edwin Meese from 1985 to 1987; he served four years as assistant to the solicitor general before that. He is no Harriet Miers. He has an intellectual pulse; he has a record; and he even has an intellectual forebear on the Court -- Antonin Scalia.
He wrote a dissenting opinion in the Third Circuit's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, opining that husbands ought to be informed before their wives seek abortions. After all, "some married women are intially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husband's knowledge because of perceived problems -- such as economic contraints, future plans, or the husband's previously expressed opposition -- that may be obviated by discussion prior to abortion." Alito did not go on to opine whether spousal notification was a good idea because husbands might want to demand an abortion. The door swings one way for Alito -- no choice.
Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist dissented in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision striking down spousal notification, citing Alito's dissent with approval.
So the administration comes full circle. Dad's appellate judge becomes the son's Supreme Court justice. And we get the ghost of Rehnquist inhabiting the philosophic zoot suit of Antonin Scalia. Go nuclear? You bet. I'm heading for a bomb shelter. This is the candidate conservatives have been hoping for, and I predict that they'll have enough votes to see this nominee confirmed.