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Tale of Two Nominations

by Alex Miller-Mignone

In the rather undignified scramble by the White House to find a suitably corporatist replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor on the US Supreme Court, one who will support the Executive’s unconstitutional power grab (either through personal loyalty to Dubya or because of inherent philosophy) and ultimately, the Christian Right’s burning desire for an eradication of the Right to Privacy, two names have emerged: Harriet Miers and Samuel Alito. In terms of paper trails and prior experience, the two could not be more different.

Harriet MiersMiers’ best qualifications were as President of the Texas Bar Association (no, that position does not involve tequila shooters, at least not officially) and former White House Counsel, not exactly the benchmarks of a career whose logical conclusion would be the Supreme Court. The vast majority of her writings were along the nature of grocery lists and little love notes to Dubya, and not surprisingly did not reveal much of her judicial philosophy. She was the perfect stealth candidate, one who would quite probably have fit into O’Connor’s swing vote status, at least in matters that did not touch the life, freedom or property rights of her former employer. It was for exactly this reason that her candidacy was squashed by the Right, and not the Left—having come this close to dominating the final branch of government, the fulfillment of their decades-long agenda, the Right was not about to settle on anyone who was not an obvious ideologue.

Samuel AlitoAlito, on the other hand, has been the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and a judge on the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals for 15 years; he is eminently (or is that “imminently?") qualified and appropriately experienced. His writings are voluminous, his judicial philosophy fairly clear. He supports corporatism, consistently ruling against the rights of individuals in favor of big business, and is on the record as affirming that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Unlike John Roberts, Bush’s most recent Supreme Court candidate and now Chief Justice, Alito has refused to sign off on Roe as the “settled law” of the land. Given the chance, it is likely he would vote to overturn it.

To what, astrologically, may we attribute the difference in the outcomes of these nominations? Both nominated by a President whose Party controls the Congress, both presumably acceptable to him, and therefore, one would think, to his base, one sinking into abysmal oblivion based on lack of Party support, the other apparently successful despite vigorous opposition from the Party out of power?

It may be as simple as the relative placement of their Suns, and the differences between Quasars and Black Holes. In short, each of the current Justices has an aspect from his or her natal Sun to both a Black Hole and a Quasar, as does Judge Alito. Harriet Miers does not, sporting only a Black Hole aspect. Interestingly, unsuccessful Bush 41 Supreme Court nominee Judge Robert Bork, whose castigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee later made his name a synonym for character assassination, shared Miers’ pattern of Black Hole contacts lacking Quasar support (Bork b. 1 March 1927, Sun 11 Pisces).

This suggests that whereas the power of the Black Hole may be such as to draw to the native the circumstances which promote nomination to the Court, it is only the presence of an active Quasar which ensures that nominee’s success. This is consistent with Quasar nature, which is to promote achievement, success, and visibility, and often compels notoriety, not to exclude notoriousness.

The current Court’s Quasarial make-up is interesting: not only do all the Justices have aspects from their Suns to Quasars, they are all hard aspects of square and opposition, with the exception of John Paul Stevens’ (b. 20 April 1920, Sun 0 Taurus) rather broad conjunction with the Quasar at 4 Taurus. There is not a sextile, trine or inconjunct among them, indicating that perhaps conflict is required in the activation of Quasars or in evoking their best performance.

Sandra Day O’Connor (26 March 1930, Sun 5 Aries) and Stephen Breyer (15 August 1938, Sun 22 Leo) both have oppositions from their Suns to Quasars. The delicate balancing act of the opposition can be seen clearly in O’Connor’s renowned position as a swing vote on the Court.
Antonin Scalia (11 March 1936, Sun 20 Pisces) is the least connected, with a semisquare/sesquiquadrate to the galactic axis formed by Quasars at 4 Taurus and 4 Scorpio.

But the majority, five Justices in all, have square aspects between the natal Sun and Quasars (John Roberts: 27 January 1955, Sun 6 Aquarius; Ruth Bader Ginsberg: 15 March 1933, Sun 24 Pisces; Clarence Thomas: 23 June 1948, Sun 2 Cancer; David Souter: 17 September 1939, Sun 23 Virgo; Anthony Kennedy: 23 July 1936, Sun 0 Leo). The stress of the square, its urge to conflict, cannot be a positive influence on the Court’s deliberative process, but it seems to have helped propel each of its members to their seats. Additionally, 6 of the Justice’s Suns form aspects to Quasars in Fixed Signs, implying an entrenched nature in the Court’s make-up. One Justice’s Sun aspects a Quasar in a cardinal sign (O’Connor; the aspect is to Libra). Two aspect quasars in mutable signs (Alito will replace O’Connor on the Court in more ways than one, as his Cardinal Sign Quasar will replace hers).

But a lack of Sun/Quasar aspects wasn’t all that was working against Harriet Miers, galactically speaking (b. 10 August 1945, Sun 17 Leo). Her missing paper trail was easy to see in her natal 4 Virgo Mercury atop a Black Hole at 6 Virgo; there was literally no written evidence to consider. With Mercury/Black Hole she was unlikely to have had a strongly heard voice on the Court, but her vote would often have proved pivotal decisions.

This is further reflected, vis-à-vis her prospective judicial temperament, in the conjunction of natal Jupiter (27 Virgo), Chiron (2 Libra) and Neptune (4 Libra) with the supermassive Black Hole center of Galaxy M-87 at 1 Libra, the largest anomaly of its type of which we are aware. Her judicial philosophy (Jupiter) is obscured or shrouded (Neptune), and these celestials combined could also indicate muddled decisions, or a flawed deliberative process. Chiron here suggests she may have been a maverick on the Court, an important swing vote, particularly on social issues (Libra), in the mold of Justice O’Connor.

Pluto at 10 Leo is also conjunct a Black Hole and within orb of her Sun; Saturn (18 Cancer) opposes one Black Hole at 19 Capricorn, while Mars (12 Gemini) opposes another at 10 Sagittarius. She may be feeling the loss of potential power keenly.

Pop Quiz: What Supreme Court nominee was born on April Fool’s Day and nominated on Hallowe’en?

If you answered Samuel Alito, you’d be correct. Both dates are known for tricks and pranks, and for a topsy-turvy, parallel reality sense of everything not being as it seems.

Born 1 April 1950, Alito’s Sun at 11 Aries fits the Supreme Court Galactic Profile to a T—in this case, a T-Square, formed from a conjunction with the Quasar at 10 Aries, square to another Quasar at 8 Cancer, and an opposition to a third at 14 Libra. The Sun is also opposed the Black Hole at 13 Libra and Alito’s natal Neptune at 16 Libra.

The triple Quasar contact would tempt one to predict an eventual Chief Justice status for Alito, were it not for the fact that a man five years his junior was just installed in that position (in that context it is worthwhile noting that Roberts’ Sun is similarly placed, as the fulcrum of a pair of opposed Quasars, in square to each and opposed a Black Hole, creating a Galactic Grand Cross which trumps Alito’s T-Square).

Mercury lying close beside the Sun at 16 Aries is itself opposed this same Quasar/Black Hole conjunction and Neptune. This speaks, on the Quasar side, to the voluminous written output which forms the Alito record, and on the Black Hole side, to the controversy over it, as well as the contrary nature of the evidence. Neptune, of course, speaks to the obvious deceptiveness in some of Alito’s answers.

In the long run, Alito’s roughest moments have come over statements made on job applications, when he was attempting to advance his career, as in fact, he is doing now. This is not surprising when one considers that natal Saturn ties to this pattern by inconjunct to the Sun/Mercury conjunction from 14 Virgo, where it is also squared a Black Hole.

His disingenuousness regarding his membership in CAP, the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, an organization which opposed gender- and color-blind admissions to the Ivy League university, is a case in point and stems from the influences of Neptune and the Black Hole on natal Mercury. He was proud enough of this connection, and aware of the positive effect it would have on his interviewer, to highlight his membership in CAP on a job application with the Reagan Administration 13 years later. But in the 20 years since then, its bigotry has been exposed and denounced even by such conservative stalwarts as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and now Alito affects not to be able to recall any details of his membership, or the organization’s aims or efforts. This is not to say that Samuel Alito is a bigot, but rather to expose the opportunistic way in which he either touts or deprecates his involvement, to attain his own ends.

Pluto is trine Sun/Mercury, and at 15 Leo is itself a part of a Galactic Grand Cross composed of the Maser at 13 Leo, the Pulsars at 15 degrees of Scorpio and Aquarius, and the Black Hole at 16 Taurus. Masers bring controversy, and one of the most controversial elements of Alito’s confirmation hearings, as it will be of his tenure on the Supreme Court, is his attitude toward the advancement of the power of the Executive Branch. The Black Hole implies subterfuge or deception, a sense of things unseen. At 16 Taurus it is also in exact aspect to natal Mercury, albeit by a usually somnolent semi-sextile, and Mercury is tightly trine Pluto, all of which goes a long way to explaining Alito’s selective memory.

Jupiter exactly conjunct a Black Hole at 27 Aquarius denotes an inscrutable judicial philosophy, and the possibility of a dramatic white/black reversal moment. The image he presents of his judicial leanings is not likely to accurately represent the facts, but this could reasonably be taken both ways—he might prove surprisingly liberal in his voting record, at least on social issues.

Some galactic factors bear out this potential. Natal Venus at 25 Aquarius is conjunct both a Quasar and natal Neptune/Black Hole. That could signal rulings favorable to women (of course, it could just as easily indicate an acceptance of specie in exchange for rulings). Natal Uranus at 1 Cancer is even more strikingly poised to disrupt Alito’s supposed judicial temperament, lying as it does in exact square to the supermassive Black Hole at 1 Libra; the potential for striking out on an unexpected path is there.

On January 24, Alito’s nomination was passed through the Judiciary Committee on a straight Party line vote of 10-8. The Sun at 4 Aquarius, with Mercury close beside at 2, was filling in the missing leg of the Galactic T-Square formed by the Quasars at 4/5 Taurus and Scorpio, and the Black Hole at 2/3 Leo, creating a temporary Galactic Grand Cross. As of this writing, there has been some talk of a last-minute filibuster attempt by the Democrats, but Alito has history, and the Republican majority, on his side. While Black Hole energies are difficult to predict, and virtually anything is possible, it seems likely Alito will receive confirmation.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photo
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at