January 31, 2006
Alito, the 110th Supreme Court justice, replaces retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "I am pleased that the Senate has voted to confirm Judge Sam Alito," said President Bush. "Sam Alito is a brilliant and fair-minded judge who strictly interprets the Constitution and laws and does not legislate from the bench."
White House photo by Eric Draper
Alito was sworn in at the Supreme Court Tuesday, January 31st, in time for him to join President Bush at the U.S. Capitol for the president's State of the Union Address tonight.
Alito, a federal judge who served on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, was nominated by Bush on October 31, 2005. Previously, Alito was a federal prosecutor in New Jersey and worked as an attorney in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to sit on the Supreme Court, was appointed by the late President Ronald Reagan. The only other woman on the Supreme Court is Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton.
"Our Nation is grateful to Justice O'Connor for her extraordinary and dedicated public service," President Bush said in statement following Alito's Senate confirmation. "She is one of the most admired Americans of our time, or any time."
The U.S. Senate confirmed John Roberts, President Bush's pick for chief justice on September 29, 2005. Roberts replaced the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who died in early September 2005.
Although the U.S. Constitution grants equal legislative authority to both the Senate and the House of Representatives, there are some powers granted to one chamber only. After the president proposes a nominee, only the Senate may approve or disapprove the nominee.
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States. During each term, which begins on the first Monday in October, the nine Supreme Court justices decide cases, primarily appeals of rulings made by lower courts. Supreme Court review is granted to less than 1 percent of the 7,000 appeals submitted.
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