Party lines stiffen for Alito confirmation |

Party lines stiffen for Alito confirmation

Leah McBride
AP File Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke

WASHINGTON (Medill News Service) – In what is shaping up as a straight party-line vote, Colorado Democrats are saying “no” to Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation, while Republicans favor him. The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday confirmed Alito as Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement on the Supreme Court, with full debate in the Senate expected to begin today. A final Senate vote is expected by the end of the month and the state’s two senators are the only ones in the delegation that count.Senate watchers predict Alito will be confirmed but by a lesser margin than the 78-22 vote last fall to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts.

“It would be unfortunate and irresponsible for any of my Senate colleagues to continue to politicize the judicial confirmation process,” Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican, said in a statement. “The judge is eminently qualified, and he deserves a swift up-or-down vote.”Allard had previously made his support for Alito clear. Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar said he will vote against Alito’s confirmation. Salazar is expected to participate in the debate on the Senate floor.Salazar stepped outside party lines last September when he voted in favor of Roberts as chief justice. The contrast in Salazar’s decision to vote against Alito, after voting for Roberts, is based on more than his concern about placing too much power in the hands of the president, Salazar said.Alito will “close (the) nation’s courthouses to the weakest and poorest among us” and “reverse our progress on the laws that promote diversity in our country,” Salazar said.

While the debate on Alito’s nomination is confined to the Senate, the opinions of Colorado’s delegates in the House also fall along party lines.”I was less impressed by Judge Alito than I was by Judge Roberts,” said Rep. Mark Udall, whose district includes Eagle County. “His record of extraordinary deference to the executive branch worries me, and his statements during the confirmation hearings left me with the impression that he was far less independent-minded and far more ideological than Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”Colorado Republicans tout Alito as a judge who makes decisions based on the Constitutional principles.”Samuel Alito will bring a foundation to the high court that will transcend for decades,” Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave said in a statement with which fellow Republican Rep. Thomas Tancredo said he agreed.

“The Republican base put President Bush in the White House largely based on his promise to pick judges who would not legislate from the bench,” Tancredo said in a statement. “Faithful conservatives are yelling ‘Yes!'”Vail, Colorado

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