Dahlia Lithwick is ringing a warning bell when it comes to Sam Alito and the war on terror:
I have written before that the arc of his Supreme Court nominations can best be explained by his desire to pack the courts for all of the Hamdan, Hamdi, and Padilla cases to be heard by the courts for years to come. Think about it: Roberts, Miers, and Alito each have a long track record of endorsing executive power. Each seems highly likely to strongly support the president’s claims to virtually limitless executive authority in wartime. The Bush administration saw that claim repudiated by a margin of 8-1 in Hamdi. And the president won’t let that happen again.
It won’t. How do I know? In his 15 years on the federal bench, Judge Samuel Alito has yet to rule on a case substantively involving the war on terror. But Alito’s votes in pending and future war on terror cases can be fairly accurately predicted. They lurk in dark alleys, near his decisions about criminal rights, immigration cases, and government power. Alito’s record in none of those areas bodes well for people who worry about the Bush administration’s push for unchecked war powers.