OK, I've argued this before, and TNR backs me up on it for this nomination. Hell, even Orrin Hatch thinks so.
Eh. For my part, I don't give a rat's ass. Yeah, I think the guy's pretty extreme. His dissent in Casey is pretty absurd, I think, although it's arguable (not particularly convincingly, I think, but arguable) that even that's not that extreme. To be fair, Alito didn't write and pass that law, just dissented (as Alito noted in his dissent, "Whether the legislature’s approach represents sound public policy is not a question for us to decide").
But OK, he's too conservative, too extreme, let's bomb him (figuratively speaking, of course), raze the forests and burn the villages, and he's out of there. Do you think that would then mean that a chastened Bush would nominate Laurence Tribe for SCOTUS? I don't think so.
The fact is that Democrats lost the election in 2004. You can argue about why (Republican dirty tricks! Democratic candidate too far to the left! Democratic candidate too far to the center!), but most of these things are just excuses. The Shrum-led Dems fucked up another election, trying a half-assed "we really do care about national security!" strategy combined with a scattered attempt to move the debate to domestic issues. The Rove Machine successfully played the same goddamned game it's been playing since the early '70s and the Democrats lost. And until they win elections, they ain't selecting the SCOTUS candidates. Which means, as long as Bush, Frist, and Hastert are running the country, they're going to pick Alitos, Scalias, and Thomases until the goddamned cows come home.
What's the "take-home message" here? Quit your whining, suck it up and get ready for 2006, because taking back first the Congress and then the White House is the only way to ensure that SCOTUS members are not right-wing roundhead bastards.