"When someone becomes a judge, you really have to put aside the things that you did as a lawyer at prior points in your legal career and think about legal issues the way a judge thinks about legal issues," Alito said.
Kennedy, in his exchanges with Alito over executive power, countered that his judicial decisions followed the "larger pattern" of his writings and speeches before he joined the courts.
Two new national surveys found that about half of Americans backed Alito's confirmation. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday, 49% said they supported his confirmation, 30% said they opposed it and 21% were uncertain; an ABC/Washington Post survey released Monday recorded similar results.
In both surveys, Alito's support was slightly lower than the level recorded for Roberts as his hearings began in September.
Operatives on both sides generally agree that, absent some significant revelation or development at the confirmation hearings, three of the 55 Senate Republicans might consider voting against Alito: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine.