It's almost like the old saw about opinions on the shape of the earth varying. According to Washington Post:
A majority of Americans favor the confirmation of federal appeals court judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court and an even larger proportion believe Alito would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 high court ruling that legalized abortion, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.
As hearings begin today in the Senate on his nomination, the survey found that 53 percent of the public says Alito should be confirmed to serve on the court--virtually identical to the proportion that supported John Roberts' confirmation as chief justice four months ago. One in four--27 percent--say Alito should be rejected by the Senate.
But one in five Americans remain undecided about the nominee, who is expected to face tough questioning this week by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee over his past writings on abortion, affirmative action, and the constitutional limits on presidential power.
The survey also found that most Americans expect Alito, if confirmed, would not vote to strike down Roe v. Wade. In the weeks since he was appointed by Bush, abortion rights advocates have grown increasingly vocal in their opposition to Alito. They fear he may be the fifth and decisive vote on the court to overturn Roe--a decision that would instantly inflame national debate over an issue that already is one of the most divisive in American politics.
Instead, the survey suggests that the public expects Alito to follow a middle course on the court.
Middle course, indeed. How do people end up with these opinions? Let me guess: They look at Alito's pictures and see no horns on his head or rivers of bile flowing out of his nostrils, and they have to pay the bills and the son is in trouble with the sports coaches and the daughter just had her tongue pierced and the old arthritis is bothersome again and maybe the job isn't as secure as they thought, what with the Bush boom and all. They don't have time or interest for this stuff and, besides, the future is still in the future and can take care of itself.
This is how the world crumbles, by the way. Not with a big bang but with a tiny whimper, made up of the millions of uninterested and tired sighs.
Those who have the leisure and the interest to follow politics more closely have a rather different opinion on Alito:
LEADERS of the Christian right gathered in a Philadelphia church on Sunday night to build support for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito on the eve of his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Conservative religious leaders want to follow their success in the elections of 2002 and 2004 by winning a fight over a Supreme Court nominee and defeating their Democratic and liberal adversaries.
The Alito nomination, which polls show a majority of voters support, is opposed by many organisations on the left.
Republicans and Democrats agree that if Judge Alito succeeds Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the court is likely to shift to the right, especially on abortion issues and in disputes over the separation of church and state.
The "Justice Sunday III" speeches by Focus on the Family's James Dobson, former Moral Majority chairman Jerry Falwell and the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins were broadcast on several Christian television networks and directly into churches across the country.
"The threat to our religious liberties has not diminished," Mr Perkins told journalists. He cited rulings against the Pledge of Allegiance, restrictions on the public display of the Ten Commandments and a decision barring the Indiana House of Representatives from beginning sessions with prayers that refer to Jesus Christ.
"These are not theoretical threats. They present a clear and present danger to religious freedom in our country," Mr Perkins said. "We are not interested in creating a theocracy in America, we have no interest in a church state. What we want is a church that is free to speak the truth."
Don't believe Perkins. He does want a theocracy in this country, and getting Alito on the bench is part of the master plan. As was the anointing of the seats in the hearings room.
My opinion? Alito will increase the power of the radical religious clerics and the president and he will do his utmost to overturn Roe, to gut our privacy rights and to remove barriers against sex and race discrimination. But other than that, yeah, he is a guy with class...