A Big Decision

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito, leaves the office of Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. following a meeting on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005 in Washington.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Confirmation hearings are due to start next week for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. The ads have already started to appear on cable suggesting that the judge either would or would not be a great addition to the Court.

John Roberts practically sailed through the Senate a couple of months ago. Alito though, will be a different story. Roberts replaced conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Alito will replace Sandra Day O'Connor, and this is where it gets interesting. O'Connor was the moderate swing vote on many a Supreme Court decision.

Is this where President Bush really leaves his mark on the Court or is the Senate less inclined to play ball, especially with the President's anemic approval numbers? Alito apparently is a fan of expanded presidential powers — the very issue that has even some conservatives up in arms these days.

Roberts was big, but the Alito decision is much bigger.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith