I’m no fan of the nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. I believe he will be a conservative Justice, and frankly I’d rather have a “reliable liberal.” Yet, I do not believe, as many liberals do, that the Judge is an ideological fanatic, along the lines of Justice Scalia. The funny thing is, I think the White House knows that too, and is doing everything that they can to hide that.
On this site, and reprinted on many other sites, Flavia Colgan laid out a pretty well researched case that former and current colleagues of Judge Alito thought he wouldn’t overturn Roe v. Wade and would not be a reliable conservative in other hypothetical instances. Coincidentally, her piece came out just about the same time an Associated Press story hit the wire saying essentially the same thing.
"Sam is not going to overturn Roe v. Wade," said Judge Leonard Garth, a moderate conservative who signed on to a 2000 abortion-rights decision involving a procedure foes call "partial-birth" abortion that Alito criticized as too expansive, according to the Associated Press.
Interestingly, both Flavia’s post and this AP story made the Drudge Report – for about two hours. Then they both mysteriously disappeared. The only link left dealing with Alito was a story about how his mother was getting harassed by the media.
I do not have proof, but have no doubt that pressure was put on Drudge by the White House (or Republican operatives acting on behalf of the White House). It’s not because these pieces were BS stories. After all, a tip from a Republican that the Democratic talking points on Alito were “ethnically offensive” stayed up for days, even though the tip was anonymous and without merit.
So the question is why the White House didn’t want these stories to get play? Maybe this story from the Associated Press in New Jersey could shed some light on the situation. Titled “NJ anti-abortion activists withholding support of Alito,” it reads, in part:
TRENTON, N.J. -- While many have labeled U.S. Supreme Court hopeful Samuel Alito as against abortion rights, some key abortion opponents in his home state of New Jersey feel just the opposite...
New Jersey anti-abortion groups say they aren't sure Alito's votes will go their way.
The more gets out about Alito maybe not being as far right as right wing fanatics would like, the more the right wing fanatics think twice, and maybe peel off. After the Harriet Miers fiasco, the White House could ill-afford to see their base turn on their nominee again.
For the sake of at least seeming to be open minded about considering everything about Alito, and because it could cause the President innumerable headaches, Democrats would be smart to push the “Realito” story.