Bush narrows choice to Supreme Court

Monday, October 31, 2005

Judge Samuel Alito

Reuters is reporting that President Bush is expected to announce his choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court on Monday.

The Chicago Tribune reports that President Bush narrowed his short list of Supreme Court nominees to two, with a possible third. The two top individuals in consideration are Judge Samuel Alito of New Jersey and Judge Michael Luttig of Virginia. Judge Priscilla Owen of Texas may remain as a third possibility. Reuters late Sunday also listed Appeals Court Judges Michael McConnell, Edith Jones and Alice Batchelder as possibly under consideration. CBS added that the list may include Appeals Court Judge Karen Williams and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan.

The nominee, when and if confirmed, would succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who announced her retirement in July. This latest nomination process was made necessary when Harriet Miers withdrew from consideration.

Since Congress returned from summer recess, there have been significant changes at the court. When Justice O'Connor originally announced her intention to retire, President Bush nominated Judge John Roberts to replace her. However, when Chief Justice Rehnquist died in September from thyroid cancer, Roberts became the replacement for the Chief Justice.

Both Alito and Luttig are viewed by many as staunch conservatives with strong qualifications. The debate over either conservative candidate is expected to be largely partisan, unlike the Harriet Miers nomination that was widely criticized by both legislative parties for her lack of judicial experience.

Samuel A. Alito, age 55, has served as a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia since 1990. J. Michael Luttig, age 51, has served as a judge on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond since 1991. Both were originally nominated by President George Herbert Walker Bush.