Samuel Alito, Jr. Nominated to the Supreme Court: Experts and Comments

Article ID: 515734

Released: 31-Oct-2005 2:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Maryland, College Park

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  • Credit: White House Photo

    President Bush announces his nomination of Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court.

Newswise — President Bush has nominated 3rd Circuit Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. for the United States Supreme Court. He would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Alito has 15 years on the bench, and strong conservative credentials. The University of Maryland has the experts you need to comment on this story, including the political impact and chances for confirmation.

An online version of this list will be updated as warranted:


HERMAN. J. BELZInternationally known expert on American constitutionalism, as well as Civil War and Reconstruction history.

HERMAN J. BELZ: Professor, Department of History, University of Maryland

EXPERTISE: American constitutionalism, Civil War and Reconstruction, the Supreme Court.

CREDENTIALS: A prolific author, Prof. Belz has made numerous appearances in the media to talk about everything from the Supreme Court to President Lincoln. He has served as consultant to the American Historical Association's Constitutional History in the Schools Project, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Educational Testing Service, National Video Communications, Inc., Vision Associates, Inc., and the Carter Museum and Library. He has won grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the American Bar Foundation for Legal History, among others.


***WILLIAM GALSTONExpert in ethics and public policy; deputy assistant to President Clinton for domestic policy

WILLIAM GALSTON: Stern Professor of Civic Engagement; director, Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Maryland School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

EXPERTISE: American politics and ethics and public policy; civic engagement

CREDENTIALS: Deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy and executive director of the National Commission on Civic Renewal in first Clinton administration; served as senior advisor to Albert Gore Jr. during 1999-2000 presidential campaign and the run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988


* * *JAMES G. GIMPELExpert in political geography, political behavior and Maryland state politics as well as voting behavior, Congress, U.S. immigration policy and public opinion.

JAMES G. GIMPEL: Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland

EXPERTISE: Politics; Voting; Congress; Local and Maryland PoliticsAmerican Voting Behavior, Campaigns and Elections

CREDENTIALS: Prof. Graber worked on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Senate and also at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Policy Development and Research. Gimpel is the editor of American Politics Research, a scholarly journal specializing in the empirical study of American political behavior and institutions.


***MARK GRABERPolitical scientist and constitutional lawyer, University of Maryland

GRABER SAYS: The nomination of Samuel Alito further demonstrates President George Bush's commitment to the right wing of the Republican party. All three of his judicial nominations have been committed to the conservativism of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, rather than the conservatism of Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy and, even William Rehnquist. The Supreme Court over the last twenty years has been a voice of moderation in American politics, reaching the middle ground on such polarizing issues as abortion and affirmative action. Whether that remains the case may well depend on whether President Bush will have further opportunity to reshape the bench in the image of his most vocal, but not necessarily most numerous, supporters.

MARK GRABER - University of Maryland professor of government and politics; professor of law

EXPERTISE: constitutional law; judicial review; civil liberties; national politics

CREDENTIALS: Attorney and political scientist; books include "Transforming Free Speech" and "Rethinking Abortion"


***DIANA HUFFMANSupreme Court nominations and the Senate confirmation process for presidential appointees.

DIANA HUFFMAN, Baltimore Sun Distinguished Lecturer, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland

HUFFMAN SAYS: The President clearly decided that shoring up his support on the right was his priority. Judge Alito is obviously well qualified and obviously very conservative. The Democrats would like to see a Bork redux, but it remains to be seen whether key moderate Democrats or Republicans or the country have the stomach for a battle royale. The notion that the guy who won the presidential election is entitled to his choice for the high court is not insignificant. The only real chance the Democrats have to defeat Alito is to paint him as out of the mainstream as they did with Bork. But this nominee, while extremely conservative, is not another Bork in personality and beyond his written opinions may not have the plethora of writings and speeches that doomed Bork. The hearings will be contentious, but unless Democrats can convince enough of the "gang of 14" -- the moderate Democrats and Republicans who reached a deal last spring on filibustering judicial nominees-- that Alito is very far out of the mainstream, he will be confirmed despite the fact that the President appears to be in a weakened position because of recent events.

EXPERTISE: Supreme Court nominations and the Senate confirmation process for presidential appointees; Congress. Courses include the Law of Public Communication.

CREDENTIALS: Diana Huffman has served as managing editor of National Journal and as editor of Legal Times and has worked as a radio and TV reporter in New York City and Louisville, Ky. She also served as a senior aide in the U.S. Senate for 10 years. Huffman is a Principal at the Council for Excellence in Government in Washington, D.C., and participated in the council's 2000 Presidential Appointee Initiative, a joint project with the Brookings Institution. She has appeared on C-Span during past Supreme Court nomination hearings.

***JEFF MILEMAssociate Professor, College of Education


JEFF MILEM: A well-known expert on affirmative action and the Supreme Court, Prof. Milem can a talk about racial dynamics in higher education, racial/ethnic diversity, race relations, organizational behavior in higher education, college student success, the status and condition of the professoriate.

CREDENTIALS: Jeffrey F. Milem is an Associate Professor and graduate program director for the higher education administration program in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Previously, he served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services (CAPS).


***TREVOR PARRY-GILESPolitical communication and strategy expert; University of Maryland professor

TREVOR PARRY-GILES: assistant professor of political communication, University of Maryland

EXPERTISE: presidential rhetoric, political strategy and advertising; judicial nominations; political communication

CREDENTIALS: Former political consultant and writer; books include "Constructing Clinton: Hyperreality and Presidential Image-Making in Postmodern Politics" (co-author) and "The Character of Justice: Rhetoric, Law, and Politics in the Supreme Court Confirmation Process" (forthcoming)


***RONALD WALTERSDirector, University of Maryland African American Leadership Institute

RONALD WALTERS: political scientist, professor and director, African American Leadership Institute, Academy of Leadership, University of Maryland

EXPERTISE: national politics and elections; African American political leadership; urban politics

CREDENTIALS: Books include: "Black Presidential Politics in America," "White Nationalism, Black Interests: Conservative Public Policy and the Black Community" and "African American Leadership;" deputy campaign manager, Jesse Jackson presidential campaign




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