Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.



In this overview article on Alito’s nomination that I wrote in mid-November for National Review magazine, I predicted that “Democratic senators are likely to return to Washington in January regarding Alito’s confirmation as a virtual fait accompli.” Setting aside the usual senatorial bluster and the frantic effort by left-wing groups to justify their existence, I suspect that this prediction has come true.

Let me offer a few more predictions:

1. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee will perform to the same level of, ahem, competence that they displayed in the Roberts hearing. Alito, by contrast, will demonstrate a quiet grace and legal mastery.

2. Alito’s nomination will be approved by the Judiciary Committee by a 10-8 party-line vote. (In the end, Roberts’s nomination went through by a 13-5 vote, but a 10-8 party-line vote appeared quite likely after his hearing.)

3. Democrats will not make any effort to filibuster Alito’s nomination.

4. On or around January 20, Alito’s nomination will be confirmed by the full Senate, with 55-65 votes in support. (In the end, Roberts obtained 78 votes, but a vote tally in the low to mid-60s appeared probable when Senator Reid announced his opposition to Roberts—and before Senator Leahy stated that he would vote for Roberts.)

5. Alito will be a superb justice.


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