Top Senate Democrat voices concern over Alito nomination

[JURIST] Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid [official website] on Wednesday said in a Senate speech [transcript] that he has "significant concerns" about US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [official profile], who Reid said was one of the most conservative judges in the country. Reid said that recent reports about an anti-abortion statement made by Alito [JURIST report] while serving in the Department of Justice in 1985 hinted at how Alito viewed the issue. Alito has distanced himself from the comment [JURIST report], which he said was made in a job application. Reid criticized President Bush for not consulting with Democrats before nominating Alito, and he also said that Alito failed to diversify the make-up of the Court. Alito will replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor [Oyez profile] if confirmed, and some have criticized Bush for not nominating another woman or a Hispanic after the nomination of Harriet Miers [JURIST news archive] was withdrawn. Reid said that Alito's background as an appeals court judge failed to diversify the Court, as the other sitting justices all previously served as appeals court judges. Reid, responding to an op-ed [Chicago Tribune report] by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [official website] saying that he would move forward with a rules change if Democrats tried to filibuster Alito's nomination, said that Democrats had not raised the issue of using a filibuster. AP has more.

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