January 13, 2006

The Testimony of Samuel Alito’s Colleagues, Part 1

Carroll Andrew Morse

After Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito completed his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, several panels of witnesses presented testimony to the committee. Here’s a quick summary of the first two panels, as transcripted in the Washington Post.

First, a panel representing the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary testified about the “well-qualified” rating -- the highest rating awared by the ABA -- given to Judge Alito. In addition to describing their procedure for arriving at the rating, they commented on the Vanguard Case

We also interviewed an incredibly broad array of judges -- virtually all of the members of the 3rd Circuit, virtually all of the district judges that were in New Jersey and were in Philadelphia. We interviewed a number of the other judges in the 3rd Circuit who were on the district court who had contact with Judge Alito.

And what we learned from them almost unanimously was that he is held in incredibly high regard with respect to the issues that this committee, the ABA's committee, looks at: his integrity, his judicial competence and his judicial temperament.

And on the issue of the recusals, everyone thought that he has the highest integrity and that these few cases that slipped through do not diminish his integrity.

…and on the Concerned Alumni of Princeton…
We were very concerned about that listing, knowing that membership in that organization would put him, perhaps, on an extreme that we would be uncomfortable with.

His answers to our committee were very similar, if not identical, to the answers to your committee. He did not recall when he became a member or even what he did. He didn't recall ever attending any meetings or reading any publications.

He did recall that he joined the organization because of the university's attempt to remove ROTC….

But I should say, in fairness, we were very concerned about the membership of that and what happened. And all of the people we spoke to on the courts, women and minorities, people who he had worked with, people who had sat on panels with him side by side in issuing judicial opinions, almost universally said that they saw no bigotry, no prejudice.

In others words, after a thorough investigation, the ABA determined that there was no merit to either of these issues.