So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.
Given solid Republican support in the Senate — where the GOP controls 55 of the 100 seats — Democrats would have to filibuster to block Alito's confirmation, a tactic that comes with political risks. Conservatives who denounced Miers as an unqualified crony quickly praised Alito.
The nomination of Alito, a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 1990, is one step in Bush's political recovery plan as he tries to regain his footing after a cascade of troubles rocked his presidency.Ed Kennedy, at least, sounds ready for a donnybrook:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., pulled no punches. "Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not on strength."