Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

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Samuel A. Alito, Jr. was nominated October 31, 2005, by President George W. Bush to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Alito would replace Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who was to retire this fall. Alito's nomination came four days after White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers withdrew her nomination.

The White House has appointed Ed Gillespie, the co-chairman of Quinn Gillespie & Associates to help win Senate support for Alito's confirmation. [1]

During the January 2006 U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito, Jr., his wife, Martha-Ann Bomgardner, left the hearing in tears. (She left as Senator Lindsey Graham was apologizing for Democratic Senators' questions about Mr. Alito's membership in the ultra-conservative group Concerned Alumni of Princeton.) Time magazine reported that, following this incident: [2]

The always-alert Creative Response Concepts, a conservative public relations firm, sent this bulletin: "Former Alito clerk Gary Rubman witnessed Mrs. Alito leaving her husband's confirmation in tears and is available for interviews, along with other former Alito clerks who know her personally and are very upset about this development." In case that was too much trouble for the journalists, the firm also e-mailed out a statement from the Judicial Confirmation Network calling "for the abuse to stop."

Controversies

Meetings with Right-Wing Philanthropists, Donors, and Strategists

Justices Scalia and Thomas in secret meetings about right-wing political strategy?

ThinkProgress reported on Jan. 26, 2011 that Alito and Clarence Thomas have attended numerous secret right-wing fundraisers organized by groups and individuals such as Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries, Roger Hertog of the Manhattan Institute, Exxon Mobil, and CIGNA, in order to coordinate political strategy. They report, "In 2008, Justice Thomas headlined[1] the Manhattan Institute’s Wriston Lecture; last October, Justice Alito was the headline speaker[2] for the same event. According to the Manhattan Institute’s website, an individual must contribute [over] $5,000[3]...to attend the Wriston Lecture." The article also goes on to list numerous other events that Alito and Thomas attended since becoming Supreme Court justices.

Hard Right

"There will be no one to the right of Sam Alito on this Court. This is a pretty hardcore fellow on abortion issues." --Jonathan Turley, Think Progress, October 31, 2005. Video, Crooks and Liars.

"Judges who have served with Samuel Alito say he's unquestionably a conservative who would push the Supreme Court to the right, likely favoring new abortion restrictions that retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor would not," Associated Press writer Hope Yen reported November 3, 2005.

"'Of course he's against abortion,' his 90-year-old mother Rose told reporters at her home in Hamilton, N.J." --Associated Press, October 31, 2005.

"Scalito"

Alito is considered to be a favorite of the conservative movement. Comparisons to Justice Antonin Scalia have led some lawyers to give Alito the nickname "Scalito." [3]

No Constitutional Right to Abortion

Alito wrote "in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times" that "'the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

"The document, which is likely to inflame liberals who oppose Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, is among many that the White House" was to release November 14, 2005, from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Alito Would Overturn Roe v. Wade

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) warned President Bush not to nominate Alito as he is seen as a very conservative judge and an anti-abortionist due to his involvement in the Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA. v. Casey case in 1992. [4] [5]

"One group [Bush] consulted was the Concerned Women for America, whose decision to oppose Miers last Wednesday became one of the final blows to help kill the nomination. Janet M. LaRue, the group's chief counsel, said it received a call from the White House on Saturday and liked what it heard." --Peter Baker, Washington Post, October 31, 2005.

"Having finally tracked down and read Judge Alito's 3rd Circuit dissent in Planned Parenthood v Casey, I certainly hope that over the next several weeks pro-choice voters in Maine (Snowe, Collins) Rhode Island (Chafee) Ohio (Voinovich, DeWine) and the other haunts of 'moderate' Republicans are made aware of the fact that Bush's nominee believes husbands have a vested property right in their wives' uteruses." --Billmon, Whiskey Bar, October 31, 2005.

Religiosity

"If confirmed, Samuel Alito would be the fifth Roman Catholic on the current Supreme Court and the 11th Catholic to serve in the court's history." The others currently on the Supreme Court are: Antonin Scalia, 1986-present; Anthony Kennedy, 1988-present; Clarence Thomas, 1991-present (converted after joining SC); and John Roberts, chief justice, 2005-present. [6]

"The Opus Dei Crowd appears to be firmly entrenched in our power structure." --Buck Batard, Bad Attitudes, October 31, 2005.

Cronyism

"It's interesting to note that when Sam became U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, and needed to appoint his First Assistant U.S. Attorney (his top deputy), he looked outside the office and brought on board a highly experienced prosecutor from the Southern District of New York by the name of Michael Chertoff. --Eric, Is That Legal?, October 31, 2005.

Career Prosecutor

"After a clerkship with 3rd Circuit Judge Leonard I. Garth, Alito worked as a front-line federal prosecutor in New Jersey for four years. But soon after President Ronald Reagan was elected, Alito joined the Office of the Solicitor General, staying for four years and helping to decide what position the administration would take in cases up for review by the Supreme Court.

"That was followed by a three-year stint at Main Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general. In 1987, at the age of 37, Alito was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a post he held until he was tapped in 1990 by the first President Bush to join the 3rd Circuit." --Shannon P. Duffy, The Legal Intelligencer, October 31, 2005.

"Before becoming a judge, after a short stint as a law clerk for a federal judge, Alito's entire career -- from 1977 to 1990 -- was as a prosecutor or attorney for the Government." --Talk Left, October 31, 2005.

Conflict of Interest

"Three years ago Alito drew conflict-of-interest accusations after he upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the Vanguard Group. Alito had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with the mutual fund company at the time. He denied doing anything improper but recused himself from further involvement in the case." --Christopher Lee, Washington Post, October 28, 2005.

When Alito "appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee 15 years ago as a nominee for the appellate bench, he promised in writing to disqualify himself from 'any cases involving the Vanguard companies,' a stock and mutual fund firm in which he had substantial personal investments.

"That is why several Senate aides said they were wondering yesterday why Alito agreed to participate in 2002 with two other judges in an appellate case in which he ruled in Vanguard's favor, dismissing a complaint that the company had improperly seized some private accounts and blocked the owner's widow from obtaining the funds they contained.

"Alito's ruling, issued on April 12, 2002, was withdrawn the following year by Anthony Joseph Scirica, the chief administrative judge for the 3rd Circuit where Alito worked. Scirica acted after the widow complained in a court motion that Alito's participation was 'unlawful' under judicial ethics rules." --R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, November 1, 2005.

Another "Chickenhawk"?

"Well, here's one portion of his resume we hope gets some very, very close scrutiny over the next few weeks, before his confirmation hearings.

"Where were you in '72?

"Specifically, what were the circumstances of Alito getting a coveted slot in the Army Reserves that year, while the Vietnam War was still raging? Is Alito yet another 'chickenhawk' who avoided the war and now will be deciding on life-or-death cases involving our young men and women fighting in Iraq and elsewhere today?" --Attytood, October 31, 2005.

"Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito joined the Army Reserve while he was a college student because his lottery number had made it likely he would be drafted for the Vietnam War, college roommates said," November 2, 2005.

Photo-Opportunist

"Wasting no time, Alito went to the Capitol shortly after the announcement to meet with lawmakers. Accompanied by two of his children and Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, Alito paused first to pay his respects at the coffin of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks in the Capitol rotunda." --Ron Fournier, Associated Press, October 31, 2005.

Notable Rulings & Views

"Alito, 55, has been dubbed 'Scalito' or 'Scalia-lite' by some lawyers and political pundits because of a reputation as a strong, conservative jurist that often brings comparisons to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But Alito, 55, also has a reputation as being scholarly and quiet, rarely asking questions during oral arguments," the Associated Press's Donna De La Cruz wrote September 7, 2005.

"Among Alito's noteworthy opinions was his sole dissent in the 1991 case that struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring women seeking abortions to tell their husbands. The Supreme Court later struck down the spousal notification.
"But in 2000, Alito joined the majority in ruling that a New Jersey law banning late-term abortions was unconstitutional.
"In a 1997 ruling, Alito said that Jersey City officials did not violate the Constitution with a holiday display that included a creche, a menorah and other secular symbols," De La Cruz wrote.

In a 2004 ruling, Doe v Groody(pdf), Alito dissented in a case which involved the strip-search of a mother and daughter during a drug raid. The court's opinion, as written by then Third Circuit Judge Michael Chertoff, noted the officer's warrant did not include the authority to search, much less strip search, the mother and daughter. Alito disagreed, stating that the warrant did indeed include anyone on the premises, but even if conceding the warrant did not grant the authority, Alito stated the authority could be broadened by the officers on the scene.

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Reactions to the Nomination

Profiles

Alito was born April 1, 1950, in Trenton, New Jersey. "Alito's deceased father, Samuel Alito Sr., was the director of the New Jersey's Office of Legislative Services from 1952 to 1984. Alito's sister, Rosemary Alito, is a partner with the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham in Newark, and is regarded as one of New Jersey's top employment lawyers." [7]

Appointments

Alito was appointed February 20, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, "to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons." He was confirmed by the Senate April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990. [8]

Professional Career

  • Law clerk, Hon. Leonard I. Garth, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1976-1977
  • Assistant U.S. attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977-1981
  • Assistant to the U.S. solicitor general, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1981-1985
  • Deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, 1985-1987
  • U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, 1987-1990

Education

  • Princeton University, A.B., 1972
  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1975

Corporate Holdings

The Associated Press reported October 31, 2005, that "Court Nominee Alito Holdings Top $615,000" ... "including stock in Exxon Mobil Corp. worth more than $100,000 [received as a bequest in May 2004], according to his 2004 financial disclosure statement ... stock worth $15,000 and $50,000 each in fast-food giant McDonalds and Intel, the computer chip maker; and stock worth less than $15,000 each in drug-maker Bristol Myers Sqibb and Disney." Both the Bristol Myers Squibb and McDonalds stocks were listed as gifts in 2003.

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External links

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Supreme Court Nomination

Profiles

Articles & Commentary

  • [9], Thomas, Clarence. "How to Read the Constitution." Wall Street Journal. Oct. 20, 2008
  • [10], Alito, Samuel. "Wriston Lecture 2010 - Let Judges Be Judges." Manhattan Institute Video
  • [11], "Supporting Manhattan Institute." manhattan-institute.org