Alito confirmed by Senate in 58-42 vote

Breanne George

Samuel Alito begins a new era as the 110th Supreme Court justice in history.

Alito, 55, was confirmed by the Senate yesterday with a vote of 58-42, the most debated confirmation since Clarence Thomas in 1991. Only 51 votes were needed to confirm.

He will replace Sandra Day O’Connor, who had been the Supreme Court’s moderate swing voter.

The confirmation was expected after failed attempts of a filibuster by leading Democrats John Kerry and Ted Kennedy during the Senate debate on Monday.

Many liberals fear Alito’s conservative ideology, but Thomas Hensley, political science instructor, said justices do not always vote as expected.

“We don’t know how he will vote, but I suspect Alito will become part of the conservative block,” he said.

Although Hensley said he does not believe radical change will occur, he said profound change is conceivable.

Students at Kent State have mixed reactions to Alito’s confirmation. Matt White, president of the College Republicans, said he believes Alito’s high qualifications make him the right choice for justice.

“I’m proud that our President has selected such a qualified nominee to sit on the nation’s highest court,” said White. “I believe that a ‘strict constructionist approach,’ or applying the written words of the Constitution as they are written, will benefit out nation for many years to come.”

Undergraduate Student Senator Preston Mitchum said he doesn’t question Alito’s qualifications, but rather his judicial ideology.

“He is going to let his personal beliefs get involved,” he said. “His prior stance has been very pro-life and he said he is willing to defend that.”

Other students would like to have seen a woman replace O’Connor, who was the first female Supreme Court Justice.

“There are so many qualified women in politics,” said Amy Groya, sophomore history and political science major. “The court needs to have more female representation.”

Alito was sworn into the Supreme Court prior to President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, which took place last night. He will be ceremonially sworn in at the White House today.

Alito served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the third circuit prior to his nomination.

Supreme Court justices serve for life, so Alito could be justice for 30 years.

Alito’s confirmation could be considered a major political victory for Bush, who leaves his mark on the Supreme Court for many years to come.

Contact student politics reporter Breanne George at [email protected]