“Today, less than a week after the withdrawal of Harriet Miers, the President has nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. We have much to learn about Samuel Alito and I will not pass judgment until I have all the facts.
While the President’s standards for a Supreme Court nominee may shift with the political winds, mine do not. I examine each nominee’s record, experience and testimony, and see if they meet my long-held standards. Are they ethical, honest and qualified? Will they be evenhanded, fair, independent, and will they uphold our rights and liberties? Just as I evaluated Chief Justice Roberts and ultimately voted to confirm him based on these criteria, I will give a fair and diligent review on these standards to Judge Alito.
But today’s nomination must be closely examined due to the actions of the President himself. The withdrawal of Harriet Miers came following intense right wing political pressure that compromised the nomination process to our nation’s highest court.
The withdrawal of a Supreme Court nominee to placate the radical right has implications for the nomination of Judge Alito.
I am disappointed that this nominee does not even maintain the current diversity on the Court. The President would have done well to ensure that our nation’s highest court better reflects the diversity of background and thought of the American people.
I had encouraged the President to take his time and appoint a nominee who represents mainstream judicial thought and would unite the American people and the Senate just as Justice O’Connor’s nomination did two decades ago. To hastily appoint a nominee without consulting Senators from both parties indicates that this action may be more about politics than respect for the process.
I pledge to do all I can to learn about Judge Alito and will consider his nomination based on the best interests of my constituents and whether he will be a Justice for all Americans.”