Give President Bush props for one thing: Senators won't have to consult a psychic to determine what Judge Samuel Alito thinks about the Constitution. As Ann Althouse notes in The New York Times, Bush could have followed the Miers selection with another candidate whose resume had (shall we say) a few holes. (Hat tip: Instapundit.) Instead, this confirmation process should be a real treat -- a nominee with 15 years' appellate-court experience and additional time as a litigator in the Justice Department and the office of the Solicitor General.
Meantime, Julian Sanchez deconstructs the left's initial talking points against Alito. Note: Sanchez is a libertarian, Alito a conservative; Sanchez concedes that Alito has a more expansive view of the role of the state. That said, the judge reads and applies the law carefully and consistently. Or as my old D.C. acquaintance Jonathan Adler writes on OpinionJournal, Alito is "pro-law." This should be welcome news to anyone who believes that the courts should not be super-legislatures that settle policy disputes.(More here and here, and for regular updates, check Bench Memos, RealClearPolitics and The Volokh Conspiracy.)
While pundits argue over whether Alito's jurisprudence will align more closely with Scalia or Roberts, the more fascinating question is whether his views are closer to Scalia or to Thomas? Adler's piece suggests the latter. And given Thomas's rousing rulings in Kelo and Raich, his selection may be cause for relief among limited-goverment supporters. After all, consider Bush's first choice for the job.