Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Knight Ridder’s Continuing Attack on Alito


One month ago, a sloppy and biased Knight Ridder statistical analysis of Alito’s opinions elicited widespread criticism from Stuart Taylor and others. The same Knight Ridder reporters are at it again.

The bias in this new Knight Ridder article on Alito and the Fourth Amendment is evident from the article’s second sentence:

“A Knight Ridder analysis of more than 300 written opinions by Alito, for example, reveals that he has almost never found a government search unconstitutional and that he has argued to relax warrant requirements and to broaden the kinds of searches that warrants permit.”
This phrasing misleadingly suggests that the relevant universe of opinions is “more than 300,” even though only a fraction of these opinions involve the Fourth Amendment. It also ignores Fourth Amendment cases in which Alito joined someone else’s opinion.

In the unlikely event that I find time, I’ll address the article’s discussion of Alito’s cases. At this point, I’ll just note that its description of what was at issue in Doe v. Groody (the case involving a search of the wife and 10-year-old daughter of a suspected drug dealer) is inaccurate. As I discuss here, the question in that case was whether the warrant could fairly be read to incorporate the attached affidavit (which requested permission “to search all occupants of the residence”), not whether the mother and daughter could be searched “even though [they] weren’t mentioned in the warrant.” Contrary to what the Knight Ridder article suggests (and to what the Left has argued elsewhere), the majority did not maintain (and no judge in the country would maintain) that the warrant needed to identify by name the mother and daughter.


Subscribe to National Review