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John Daley ReportingPolitical leaders in Utah on both sides of the aisle are echoing national reaction on the President's pick. The stakes for this pick, the swing vote on the highest court in the land, could not be higher.
Harriet Miers, who withdrew last week, had the right wing of the Republican party up in arms with complaints she was a Bush crony or an unknown who was not well-qualified. This pick is kind of the opposite--a conservative male judge with a lengthy track record. This choice will no doubt please the President's base but inspire a tough fight with Democrats.
Republicans, including Utah's senior senator Orrin Hatch, are enthusiastic. He says, "President Bush has hit a home run by selecting Sam Alito. Anyone would be hard-pressed to name another nominee with such a sterling and distinguished record."
Joe Cannon, Republican Party Chair: "It's clear that Judge Alito is somebody that folks on the right side of the equation feel very good about. I feel extremely happy about him."
Wayne Holland, Democratic Party Chair: "In my discussions, it seems as though, again, concerns about the president being held hostage by the extreme right. That's a lot of talk about this being a missed opportunity to make the court more diverse, look more like America."
Judge Alito made his mark as a conservative judge on a court with a reputation for being among the nation's most liberal. He's been dubbed "Scalito," suggesting his opinions on the high could could echo those of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the court's right edge.
He would replace the swing vote of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate, and Alito is viewed is likely pushing the court to the right on issues like abortion and the death penalty, which is why there may be a big fight over this with Democrats.