Of the dozen or so names on Bush's rumored short list of high court candidates, Alito ranked near the top for the boardroom set.The Wall St. Journal agrees that "In 15 years on the federal bench, Judge Samuel Alito often has sided with positions backed by business leaders."
In the 800-plus opinions he has penned during his 15 years as a federal judge, Alito consistently has come down on the side of limiting corporate liability, limiting employee rights, and limiting federal regulation. "He would be a liability restrainer," says Stan Anderson, legal-affairs lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
For those assessing Judge Alito, there are dozens of business cases to sift, some of which are widely known and many which are more technical. One of the best-known is a 1997 dissent in which Judge Alito argued against a racial-discrimination claim made by a black housekeeping manager who was denied promotion to a job at a Marriott International Inc. hotel. The position, at a hotel in Park Ridge, N.J., went to a white woman. While the court ruled the woman could take the case to a jury, Judge Alito argued that, although she might be able to claim she had been treated unfairly, that wasn't enough to let her sue.And although Democrats are complaining the Bush failed to consult with them about the current nomination, business groups didn't have the same problem, according to CNN:
"What we end up doing then is ... allowing disgruntled employees to impose the cost of trial on employers who, although they have not acted with the intent to discriminate, may have treated their employees unfairly," he wrote. "This represents an unwarranted extension of the anti-discrimination laws."
Greg Valliere, chief strategist for Stanford Washington Research Group, added that it's unlikely that Alito would have been nominated if his judicial philosophy wasn't geared towards business interests.
In fact, the White House was reported to have consulted business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, headed by former Michigan governor and Bush friend John Engler, over potential nominations in order to garner support for what many see as an uphill battle to seat a conservative judge to replace moderate O'Connor.