Monday, October 31, 2005

Who is Supreme Court Nominee Judge Sam Alito? - Well, Not A Woman To Start

I don't know why the Bush Administration is doing this, but the President's new pick for the Supreme Court -- Judge Sam Alito -- is not a woman at all. Here's who he is:

Alito, Samuel A. Jr.
Born 1950 in Trenton, NJ

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Nominated by George H.W. Bush on February 20, 1990, to a seat vacated by John Joseph Gibbons; Confirmed by the Senate on April 27, 1990, and received commission on April 30, 1990.

Princeton University, A.B., 1972

Yale Law School, J.D., 1975

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

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Male

Notable legal opinions - from

A majority opinion in ACLU v. Schundler, 168 F.3d 92 (3d Cir. 1999), holding that the Establishment Clause was not violated by a city hall holiday display that contained a creche, a menorah, secular symbols of the season, and a banner proclaiming the city's dedication to diversity.

A majority opinion in Fatin v. INS, 12 F.3d 1233 (3d Cir. 1993), holding that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish that she had a well founded fear of persecution in Iran if she could show that compliance with that country's "gender specific laws and repressive social norms," such as the requirement that women wear a veil in public, would be deeply abhorrent to her. Judge Alito also held that she could establish eligibility for asylum by showing that she would be persecuted because of gender, belief in feminism, or membership in a feminist group.

A majority opinion in Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3d Cir. 2001), striking down as contrary to the First Amendment a public school district anti-harassment policy that extended to nonvulgar, non-school-sponsored speech that posed no realistic threat of substantial disruption of school work.

A majority opinion in Shore Regional High School Board of Education v. P.S., 381 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2004), holding that a school district did not provide a high school student with a free and appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, when it failed to protect the student from bullying by fellow students who taunted the student based on his lack of athleticism and his perceived sexual orientation.

A majority opinion in Williams v. Price, 343 F.3d 223 (3d Cir. 2003), granting a writ of habeas corpus to an African-American state prisoner after state courts had refused to consider the testimony of a witness who stated that a juror had uttered derogatory remarks about African Americans during an encounter in the courthouse after the conclusion of the trial.

A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As Judge Alito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems--such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition--that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 [corrected] decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.

A dissenting opinion in Homar v. Gilbert, 89 F.3d 1009 (3d Cir. 1996) arguing that that a state university did not violate the procedural due process rights of a campus policeman when it suspended him without pay and without a prior hearing upon learning that he had been arrested and charged with drug offenses. The Supreme Court, which reversed and remanded the case on other grounds, agreed with Judge Alito's reasoning that no hearing was required prior to the suspension because the drug charges showed that the suspension was not baseless.

A dissenting opinion in Sheridan v. Dupont, 74 F.3d 1439 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc) arguing that a plaintiff in a sex discrimination case should not inevitably be able to survive summary judgment simply by casting doubt on the employer's proffer of legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment decision.


Samuel Alito Jr.
Posted 7/19/05
By Bret Schulte
Nicknamed "Scalito" for views resembling those of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito Jr. is a favorite son of the political right. Appointed in 1990 by George H.W. Bush to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has earned a reputation for intellectual rigor and polite but frequent dissent in a court that has been historically liberal. His mettle, as well as a personable demeanor and ties to former Republican administrations, has long had observers buzzing about his potential rise to the high court. "Sam Alito is in my mind the strongest candidate on the list," says Pepperdine law Prof. Douglas Kmiec. "I know them all . . . but I think Sam is a standout because he's a judge's judge. He approaches cases with impartiality and open-mindedness."


I think President Bush floated Helen Miers knowing she was not the best candidate just to get the matter of picking a woman out of the way. It's terrible, but my theory seems to fit the facts around this episode. That written, what women candidates are out there?

Justice Diane Sykes - According to the AP Wire, ..."A conservative, the 47 year old was confirmed by the Senate last year for a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which handles appeals of federal cases in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner made the recommendation in a conversation with Harriet Miers just a few days before Miers herself was nominated to the Supreme Court. Miers, who withdrew her nomination Thursday, was handling the search for nominees as White House counsel at the time.

Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairs the House Judiciary Committee, which has no formal role in Supreme Court vacancies but does play an important role on judicial issues in general.

"The chairman had an awkward conversation with Harriet Miers the Friday before she was nominated, in which he suggested Judge Sykes," Sensenbrenner spokesman Jeff Lungren said in a telephone interview. "And he realized a few days later why it was an awkward conversation."

Sensenbrenner thinks that Sykes would be "extremely well qualified," Lungren said.

"She has a wealth of experience, extremely solid intellect," Lungren said. "All of the characteristics you would want in a Supreme Court justice."

Sykes won Senate confirmation by a vote of 70-27 last year, with Wisconsin Democratic Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold voting for her. Both senators serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But she drew opposition from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Durbin said that she refused to answer questions about her views on the legal foundations of Supreme Court decisions upholding a woman's right to have an abortion and requiring police to advise those under arrest of their rights. Sykes cited the Wisconsin Code of Judicial Conduct's ban on discussing cases that would commit a judge to a certain action.

"This is major league evasion," Durbin said at the time.

Durbin, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the panel's top Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, voted against her nomination.

But for the Bush administration, Sykes could be an attractive option because she's a woman, is young and has a conservative voting record that could satisfy conservatives who found Miers' record too thin."

Who else?

Jones, Edith Hollan
Born 1949 in Philadelphia, PA

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Nominated by Ronald Reagan on February 27, 1985, to a new seat created by 98 Stat. 333; Confirmed by the Senate on April 3, 1985, and received commission on April 4, 1985.

Cornell University, B.A., 1971

University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1974

Professional Career:
Private practice, Houston, Texas, 1974-1985

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Female

I'm not conservative, but the point is that The Bush Adminstration could have really focused on finding a woman candidate, and didn't. It does seem like Alito is an intellectual judge, and with a great resume. He's not a conservative in that many of his decisions are actually liberal -- for anyone to paint this guy as conservative is a joke. His track record reads "legal intellectual" so he's not a bad pick -- he's just not a woman.