Still recovering from the rejection of Harriet Miers, his first pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, President Bush received welcome support from many pro-lifers and religious groups today for his latest pick of Judge Samuel Alito to fill the spot.
While the debate over Alito, announced this morning, has yet to play out, many are praising the nominee for his strong anti-abortion stance, especially in a well known case against Planned Parenthood in 1991.
In it, Alito, a Catholic, was the lone dissenter in a decision which struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring women to tell their spouses if they were going to have an abortion.
In this morning’s nomination, the president stressed that 55-year old Alito has more judicial experience than any other Supreme Court Justice has had in over 70 years. This was a heavy point of contention with the nomination of Miers, who had never served as a judge.
Fr. Frank Pavone, head of the group Priests for Life, thanked the president for “swiftly” naming a new nominee and thus, “fulfilling his [presidential] duty.”
Calling also on the U.S. Senate to likewise deliberate in a quick and fair manner, Fr. Pavone recalled that “The nation is in a culture war, and there's no need to hide that fact.”
“Some Senators”, he said, “will oppose any change on the Court that would threaten so-called 'abortion rights.' But the American people are already deciding that their Constitution does not permit dismembering children. It is inevitable that the Court will catch up."
Rev. Rob Schenck, of the National Clergy Council said that he is "initially heartened by the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.”
“From what we know,” he said in a statement this morning, “Judge Alito has a proven track record of respect for the original intent of the framers of the constitution when it comes to the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and the public acknowledgment of God.”
Schenck and his group “are calling on Christian people of every tradition to pray for Judge Alito and the members of the US Senate as the confirmation process begins, and for the future of the Supreme Court."
Jan LaRue, of the group, Concerned Women for America, who had staunchly criticized Miers, praised Alito’s pick, saying that "He has all of the qualifications needed: intellect, knowledge and experience in constitutional law, integrity, competence, humility and judicial temperament."
No date has yet been set for Senate hearings on the new nominee, but watchers speculate that they will most likely take place after Thanksgiving.