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Obama says Bush 'wasted an opportunity' with choice for High Court
By: James Wright
Special to the NNPA from Afro Newspapers
Originally posted 11/7/2005

WASHINGTON (NNPA) President Bush's nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to be an associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court has drawn a respectful but unenthusiastic response from members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Bush's first selection, White House Counsel Harriett Miers, dropped out because of concerns regarding White House documents being turned over to the Senate and the lack of support she had among conservative Republicans.

The only CBC member who will vote on Alito's nomination, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), said: ''Though I will reserve judgment on how I will vote on Judge Alito's nomination until after the hearings, I am concerned that President Bush has wasted an opportunity to appoint a consensus nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor and has instead made a selection to appease the far right-wing of the Republican Party.''

Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said:
''The members of the Congressional Black Caucus congratulate Judge Samuel A. Alito on his nomination to the Supreme Court and will closely evaluate his record. We will hold our collective judgment and carefully weigh Judge Alito's record on issues of importance to the African-American community, as we have on prior nominations. We believe it is our duty to do so.''

Alito is known as a solid conservative and is believed to be in the same mode as Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in terms of intellect, writing ability and judicial reasoning. Alito received an associate bachelor's from Princeton University in 1972 and a law degree from Yale University in 1975.

He has worked as a law clerk, an assistant U.S. attorney, an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, deputy assistant U.S. attorney general and was appointed U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey by President Reagan in 1987.

He served in that capacity until 1990, when he was appointed to the 3rd Circuit by President George H.W. Bush.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said: ''I am disappointed, but not surprised that President Bush has missed the opportunity to nominate a candidate who would command a wide public support to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat on the Supreme Court. Judge Alito's record on issues such as discrimination, civil rights, a woman's right to choose and basic labor protections, just to name a few, is far removed from the mainstream and is profoundly troubling.

''I believe that if the Senate fulfills its obligation to examine his record thoroughly, the American people will realize how radical a candidate he is.''

The Senate Judiciary Committee will commence confirmation hearings in January.

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