Christian conservatives who withheld their support from Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers are coming out in droves to support the President's latest pick, federal appeals court judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Alito is a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and has argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court. Many Christian conservative groups immediately lauded Alito's credentials and case history.

"He's a great choice," said Bill Saunders, human rights counsel for the Family Research Council. "He's an outstanding lawyer with a great record who seems to show a consistent philosophy of judicial conservatism. He understands that we don't have a government by judiciary but a separation of powers where the legislators make the laws and the judges interpret and apply them."

If confirmed by the Senate, the 55-year-old Alito will succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose decisive votes in some high-profile cases reversed Alito's Third Circuit rulings.

"He's exactly the kind of justice the President said he would nominate," said Americans United for Life attorney Clarke Forsythe. "He will strictly construe the Constitution."

Liberal senators and groups announced their determination to block the nomination. MoveOn.org has launched an "Emergency Petition to Stop Alito," dubbing him "a notoriously radical judge."

Liberals and pro-choice activists are highlighting Alito's partially dissenting opinion in the Third Circuit's 1991 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The case involved five sections of Pennsylvania law. Alito concurred with the court on striking down all five sections except for the state's provision that would have required some women seeking abortions to notify their husbands.

"Alito basically ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.