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Predicting a tough confirmation fight for Alito

Analyst Turley talks about nominee's record and controversy it may bring
/ Source: msnbc.com

While President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers stirred a fair bit of controversy, Monday's announcement that Samuel Alito will replace Miers as Bush's latest nominee is likely to create a fight on Capitol Hill, according to Jonathan Turley, a professor of Constitutional Law at George Washington Univ.

"The problem with Sam Alito is that while he will rally the base, he will also rally the opposition," Turley said. "I think it will get extremely sporty around here. It will be a tough, tough hearing."

At the front of that fight will be groups supporting the upholding of Roe v. Wade.

"For pro-choice people, Sam Alito was probably one of the probably top three people they least wanted to see nominated," he said. "This will bring those groups to the forefront. For women's groups, you can expect that they will be active as well."

That's all thanks to Alito's 15-year record as an appeals court judge.

"This is someone that the right must be very happy with. There is not much ambiguity when it comes to Judge Samuel Alito. He is hard right on virtually every front," Turley said.

"When it comes to the woman's right to choose, and Roe v. Wade, he's viewed, at least by pro-choice people, as being highly antagonistic," Turley said, pointing to Alito's dissent in a 1991 ruling on abortion rights in which he supported spousal notification.

In addition, Alito has written a very controversial dissent in a case involving the ownership of machine guns, suggesting that a statute prohibiting such things might be unconstitutional.

"This is exactly what the most conservative wing of the Republican Party would have wanted," Turley said. "For the same reason, this is exactly what the Democrats feared. It's sort of the ultimate trick-or-treat -- one side loves it, the other side is horrified by it."

With this likely divergence in opinion between the left and right on Alito, Turley said the threat of a filibuster will be much talked about.

"You have a group of Democrats that said - at least according to the Republicans - that they would not oppose on ideology. Well, there is no other basis to oppose Sam Alito. He is qualified," Turley said

"If the Democrats are going to filibuster, they're going to have to come out early. The thing to remember is what we've learned historically is if your nominee gets through the first 24 hours without serious bruises, he or she is most likely going to survive," he said. "What happened to Bob Bork and Harriet Miers is that in the first 24 hours, a negative image was already solidified in the media and they never recovered."

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