Mr. ENZI: Thank you Mr. President. I rise today in support of the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to be an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. As a U.S. Senator, I’ve enjoyed the rare privilege of serving while the Senate considered two nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court in a short period. However, I am saddened to lose the knowledge and expertise of two experienced jurists from the nation’s high court.
The nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Judge Alito have given us an opportunity to reevaluate the current relationship between the three branches of government in comparison with the intentions of the Constitution. The evaluation shows that we have shifted into an era of judges who legislate. We must return to the elementary doctrines that recognizes the important and distinct roles of each branch. Congress is elected by the public to represent them as legislators. Through voting, the public may reaffirm or replace office holders. There is no such check on federal judges. They are not elected by the public and they should not use their positions to legislate.
In Judge Alito, President Bush has nominated a judge that recognizes the difference between his role and the Congressional role. During his nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Alito shared his thoughts on the judicial role:
“The judiciary has to protect rights, and it should be vigorous in doing that, and it should be vigorous in enforcing the law and in interpreting the law … in accordance with what it really means and enforcing the law even if that’s unpopular. But although the judiciary has a very important role to play, it’s a limited role.… It should always be asking itself whether it is straying over the bounds, whether it’s invading the authority of the legislature, for example, whether it is making policy judgments rather than interpreting the law. And that has to be a constant process of re-examination on the part of the judges.”
I have carefully reviewed Judge Alito’s qualifications and watched the recently completed Senate confirmation hearing. The testimony provided by Judge Alito and the other witnesses underscore his commitment to the rule of law and a fair and impartial judiciary that interprets the law rather than legislates from the bench.
Judge Alito has an excellent judicial reputation as being highly intelligent and fair-minded. He was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. In that capacity, Judge Alito argued 12 Supreme Court cases and at least two dozen court of appeals cases and handled at least 50 others. In 1990, President George H. Bush nominated Judge Alito to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and he was again confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate.
I believe Judge Alito knows the difference between benches and bills, courts and Congress. His appointment will move the court back closer to the brand of justice the framers of our Constitution intended and I intend to support himThank you Mr. President, I yield the floor.