President George Bush nominated Alito today to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O\'Connor. His previous nominee, Harriet Miers, had withdrawn her nomination.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, head of the world\'s largest lay Catholic organization, said in a statement: \"Judge Alito is a man of exceptional background and experience.\"
Alito, 55, has spent 15 years on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia.
\"Judge Alito\'s record as an appellate court judge is especially encouraging,\" said Anderson. \"His dissent in the 3rd Circuit\'s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey was a model of well-reasoned jurisprudence, and was cited by Chief Justice Rehnquist when the case reached the Supreme Court.
\"Judge Alito made a very strong argument for upholding restrictions on abortion that had been adopted by the Pennsylvania legislature, and in the end, the Supreme Court agreed with him on all but one provision.\"
Meanwhile, Father Frank Pavone, national director of the group Priests for Life, thanked President Bush for acting swiftly to announce a nominee for the Supreme Court.
\"We urge the Senate likewise to carry out their role of \'advice and consent\' in a timely and fair way,\" said the priest in a statement. \"We also welcome the debate over \'conservative values.\'
\"The nation is in a culture war, and there\'s no need to hide that fact. Some senators will oppose any change on the Court that would threaten so-called abortion rights. But the American people are already deciding that their Constitution does not permit dismembering children. It is inevitable that the court will catch up.\"