The Judicial Battle of the Ages Begins
This, on the other hand, ought to get everybody's attention. Everybody knows Alito's a conservative. But everybody knew John Roberts was a conservative, too. It's just that nobody had anything concrete to attack him with (or defend him, for that matter...it's just that the default was affirming him, so the opposition needed ammo). Roberts could always say that positions he had advanced previously were those of his clients (i.e. Republican administrations) and that he could approach each issue without having made up his mind. An unlikely fiction, but nobody could rebut it.
Looks like Alito's not going to have that luxury. In the 1980s he wrote a document in which he brags that, working for the Reagan administration, he advanced "legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly."
Among the juicy tidbits where Alito stakes out his position:
I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion . . .
In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause and reapportionment.
Well, this is what a lot of people wanted....a chance for an all-out ideological war about the role of the judge and, more to the point, the hot-button judicial issues of our day. Since Alito directly says that these are his personal views, there's no room for evasion now.
For better or for worse, the battle has begun.