Senator Schumer’s reckless insinuation that Alito was trying to conceal from the Senate his involvement in the Thornburgh case does not deserve to be taken seriously. An informed source has confirmed for me (and it should come as no surprise) that Alito was fully aware before he submitted his questionnaire response that the Archives would be releasing his 1985 Thornburgh memo.
In addition, of course, Alito was well aware that his November 1985 job application essay was already public. In that essay, Alito had stated that he was “particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” This statement clearly signaled Alito’s involvement in the Thornburgh case.
In short, it must have been obvious to Alito at the time he submitted his questionnaire response that his involvement in the Thornburgh case would be clear. It is equally obvious that Alito answered the questionnaire as he did because he correctly (or very reasonably) thought that he was providing exactly the information that the questionnaire called for. (More on this later.)