Alito’s nomination hearings promise to be just as thorough as the nominee himself. I’ve been asking myself and others, why wasn’t this level of fervor shown over Robert’s recent nomination? Well, I believe I’ve finally gotten an answer …

When Judge John G. Roberts Jr. appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September for hearings on his nomination to the Supreme Court, all of the participants were largely improvising. It had been 11 years since the last nomination, and the legal landscape, political climate and very state of the world had changed so radically that the old templates were of little use.

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., on the other hand, will have a fresh road map from the Roberts hearings when he sits to face the committee Monday for his own confirmation hearings. The topics to be covered, the nature and tenor of the senators’ questions, and the limits on what Judge Alito will be willing to answer will almost certainly follow the path cut in September.

But there will be distinct differences, too. Judge Roberts replaced Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, meaning that his nomination was a one-for-one, conservative-for-conservative swap. If Judge Alito is confirmed, he will replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose vote was often the fulcrum on which the Rehnquist court’s decisions turned.

O’Connor fulfilled the role of “maverick,” of sorts on the court, as her votes defied falling into a distinct liberal or conservative category, keeping everyone guessing as to her eventual decision.

To Alito’s credit, although for all the advance hoopla it could be looked upon as a detriment, his record is extensive and consistent.

Read the whole article for a good discussion of these areas of what promises to be extensive Congressional concentration.

As a summary though, the hot issues Alito will be facing an examination on – that will probably rival that of a visit to an overzealous proctologist …

-Abortion rights (I know, you already knew that one!)
-Presidential power
-Congressional authority

So, get your munchie stash stocked and your respective viewing areas of the proceedings filled with all the comforts because it promises to a long and drawn out hearing process.

Hmmm … might be a good chance to try out that “Filibuster Fillet” recipe!

Politics Alito – Analyzing the Prime Issues