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Samuel Alito’s “Frightening Geniality?”

Andrew M. Siegel of The New Republic warns liberals that Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., President Bush’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court is very dangerous indeed. Specifically, he warns that Judge Alito’s geniality and personal graciousness make him even more dangerous than Justice Antonin Scalia.

From his article: While Scalia’s bellicose tone and general lack of civility have long been fodder for his left-wing critics, they have also served to hold back his judicial agenda, both by alienating potential allies within the Court and by marking his ideas as extreme in the court of public opinion. But Alito, who marries Scalia’s conservative jurisprudence with tact, politeness, and a deferential writing style, is infinitely more dangerous to liberals. In Alito, they may have met their worst nightmare.

Further: In 15 years on the bench, Alito has had opportunities to weigh in on almost all of the controversial constitutional issues facing the Supreme Court today–from abortion and the death penalty to the scope of federal power and the role of religion in the public square. The opinions that he has written in these cases share two essential characteristics. First, each is calm, rational, and well-written. Second, on virtually every significant issue where his conclusion is not mandated by direct Supreme Court precedent, the result is conservative.

So, here we meet a liberal’s nightmare — a reasoned, calm, genteel conservative.