President Bush's nominee decides against allowing an execution to proceed

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated February 02, 2006 09:00 AM

In an initial vote that is taking many on both sides of the political spectrum by surprise, the Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Samuel Alito, sided Wednesday night with five liberals and moderates and voted to refuse the Missouri execution of death-row inmate Michael Taylor.

The final vote was 6-3, with conservatives Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas having voted for the execution to proceed, reports CNN. (Taylor was sentenced to death for the 1989 kidnapping, rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old girl.)

Earlier in the day, Alito, 55, was at the White House for a second, ceremonial swearing-in for TV cameras. President Bush expressed his personal confidence that his nominee “will make a superb justice on the United States Supreme Court.”

Alito said he was “overwhelmed by the occasion,” and “I simply pledge to do everything in my power to live up to the trust placed in me.”

Alito reportedly will spend the next few days moving into retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s former office and hiring a staff, including law clerks.