01/31/2006: In a close vote (58-42), the Senate confirmed Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). This was the closest vote since Clarence Thomas, in the wake of the Anita Hill debacle, secured confirmation by a vote of 52-48.
In this case, 4 Democrats voted for Alito. One Republican–Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island–voted against Alito. The lone independent–Jim Jeffords–also opposed Alito.
While most of the debate has centered around the abortion issue, Alito will likely have little impact, as there are still five pro-Roe justices on SCOTUS.
However, Alito could have a significant effect on business and corporate cases, in which support can sway considerably. In addition, Alito would be instrumental in sure-to-be-addressed cases involving the war against Islammunists. Alito would also be a factor in keeping gun grabbers at bay.
If one of the five pro-Roe justices (Stevens, Breyer, Ginsberg, Kennedy, or Souter) retires or dies, the next SCOTUS nominee will provoke the mother of all political fights.