Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito Confirmation Hearings

Samuel Alito’s Supreme court confirmation hearings began today (you can watch them live on CSPAN). The limits of presidential powers, especially in wartime and on national security issues, are likely to be raised.

Many senators want to know how Alito, who in the past has advocated for presidential powers, weighs in on on President Bush's administration.

"There is no question that the question of executive powers in time of war and in the context of the terrorist threat will be central to the Alito hearings," Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., said last week (quoted in the Sacramento Bee).

I would expect Alito’s nomination will not be in jeopardy with the Republican-led Senate, even if some Democrats try to filibuster. Alito has been endorsed by The American Bar Association, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and has strong GOP support.

Despite GOP support, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will likely question Alito about his views and writings on presidential executive powers and national security issues, as well as traditional hot topics such as abortion.

According to the Sacramento Bee:

"He should be asked about his views of executive powers in times of war, what role the Congress has, what role the courts have," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also a Judiciary Committee member, said in an interview Friday. "If he says, 'During a time of war the president can set aside any law on the books as commander in chief,' that would be a very extreme, absurd view of the law. Something short of that probably would not bother me."

For selected resources by and about Alito, check out the Library of Congress Law Library Reading Room. NPR lists some of his notable rulings.

(Image from The Washington Post)


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