The dude is a federalist:
In the early 1990s, Alito was the lone dissenter in
Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.
…and only 55 years old.
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.
Oops. HT Jeff Goldstein.
Appellate law blogger Howard Bashman knows Alito and likes him:
A first for the Third: Not only is Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. President Bush’s third nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, but Judge Alito is also the first judge serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ever to have been nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Philadelphia-based Third Circuit is, of course, the federal appellate court before which I practice most frequently, and I know Judge Alito well. At some point over the days to come, I will explain why I enthusiastically support this nomination. For now, my wife (who thinks Judge Alito is a great person, too) and I just want to take a moment to wish Judge Alito well in the days ahead, for he is a truly kind, intelligent, and compassionate person who undoubtedly will serve the Nation with great distinction on the Supreme Court just as he has served to this point with great distinction as a U.S. Court of Appeals judge.
So that’s another “yes” vote from the blogosphere. HT Baseball Crank.
In addition to being vaguely racist, the Scalito label isn’t especially accurate:
The conservative bent of judge Sam Alito, who President Bush nominated this morning to the U.S. Supreme Court, has prompted facile comparisons to Justice Antonin Scalia, arguably the most stridently conservative member of the court. But clerks and associates say the comparison, often made with the derisive nickname of “Scalito,” does a disservice to the man. “I think he really looks at the facts of the case; he’d be very realistic,” says former clerk Katherine K. Huang. “He doesn’t have his head in the clouds. He’s not going to be carried away by some legal doctrine or some arcane grammatical rule.” Huang is refering to a little-known Social Security case in 2002 which may be instructive when it comes to comparing Alito to Scalia.
In that case, Alito argued passionately with other members of the 3rd Circuit Appeals Court that a disabled woman, Pauline Thomas, should be granted benefits because she had been laid off from her job as an elevator operator and could not find a new job since the position of “elevator operator” had virtually disappeared from the economy. A lower court had ruled that a narrow and technical reading of the Social Security statute did not entitle Thomas to benefits. Alito called this result “absurd” and overrode the objections of several of his colleagues and convinced the full 3rd Circuit to overturn the lower court decision.
Alito’s passion didn’t move the Supreme Court, however, which overturned his decision in 2003. In a pointed rejection of Alito’s opinion—accusing him of “disregarding” basic grammatical rules for interpreting the law—the Supreme Court fell back on the narrow and technical reading and denied Thomas her Social Security benefits. The author of this stinging rebuke to Alito? Justice Antonin Scalia.
From your well-know righty rag, Time.