Samuel A. Alito, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Samuel A. AlitoSamuel Anthony Alito, Jr. (born April 1, 1950) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was appointed by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1975, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal, Alito clerked for Third Circuit appeals judge Leonard I. Garth in Newark, New Jersey. He interviewed with Supreme Court Justice Byron White for a clerkship, but White only wanted to talk about football in the interview, and Alito was not hired. During 1976–1977 Alito was Law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the Third Circuit. During 1977–1981 Alito was Assistant United States Attorney, District of New Jersey. While serving as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, he prosecuted many cases that involved drug trafficking and organized crime.

During 1981–1985 Alito was Assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee. Alito argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court for the federal government during his tenure as assistant to the Solicitor General. During 1985–1987 Alito was Deputy Assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese. In his 1985 application for Deputy Assistant to the Attorney General, Alito espoused conservative views, naming William F. Buckley, Jr., the National Review, Alexander Bickel, and Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign as major influences. He also expressed concern about Warren Court decisions in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause, and reapportionment. During 1987–1990 Alito was United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Alito was nominated by President George H. W. Bush on February 20, 1990 to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons. Alito was rated by the American Bar Association as "Well Qualified" at the time of his nomination. He was confirmed by unanimous consent in the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received his commission three days later. As a Third Circuit judge, his chambers were in Newark, New Jersey.

On July 1, 2005, Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court effective upon the confirmation of a successor. President George W. Bush first nominated John Roberts to the vacancy; however, when Chief Justice William Rehnquist died on September 3, Bush withdrew Roberts' nomination to fill O'Connor's seat and instead nominated Roberts to the Chief Justiceship. On October 3, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to replace O'Connor. However, Miers withdrew her acceptance of the nomination on October 27 after encountering widespread opposition.

On October 31, President Bush announced that he was nominating Alito to O'Connor's seat, and he submitted the nomination to the Senate on November 10, 2005. Alito's confirmation hearing was held from January 9 to January 13, 2006. On January 24, his nomination was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-8 party line vote. Democratic Senators characterized Alito as a hard right conservative in the mold of a Clarence Thomas or Robert Bork. Alito professed reluctance to commit to any type of ideology, stating he would act as an impartial referee.

Debate on the nomination began in the full Senate on January 25. After a failed filibuster attempt by Senator John Kerry, on January 31, the Senate confirmed Alito to the Supreme Court by a vote of 58-42, with four Democratic senators voting for confirmation and one Republican and an Independent voting against. Alito's confirmation vote was the second lowest on the current court, where he is surpassed only by Clarence Thomas who was confirmed 52-48.¹

Samuel Anthony Alito Quotes

"A judge can't have any preferred outcome in any particular case. The judge's only obligation - and it's a solemn obligation - is to the rule of law."
"I think that the legitimacy of the court would be undermined in any case if the court made a decision based on its perception of public opinion."

"Private religious speech can't be discriminated against. It has to be treated equally with secular speech."

"The constitution divides the powers related to making war between the president and the Congress. It gives Congress the power to declare war. It gives Congress the power of the purse."

"The president has to follow the Constitution. No one is above the law."

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