Bench Memos

Congratulations, President Bush!

In selecting Third Circuit judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. for the Supreme Court, President Bush has made a truly outstanding nomination that deserves widespread acclaim. By any objective criteria, it is doubtful that there is anyone now or in recent decades (yes, not even Chief Justice Roberts) whose experience and qualifications better prepare him for the Supreme Court.

Judge Alito’s entire career since graduating from Yale Law School in the mid-1970s has been devoted to public service in the law. His range of experience dealing with difficult questions of federal law is unmatched. After a prestigious clerkship on the Third Circuit, he worked as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey for four years. Then, as assistant to the Solicitor General, he briefed and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court for four years. He next served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel—the office that was previously headed by Rehnquist and Scalia and that advises the White House Counsel’s office and the entire executive branch on the proper meaning of the Constitution and other federal law. In 1987, Alito became United States Attorney in New Jersey. In that capacity, he was responsible for all federal prosecutions in New Jersey for three years (including the successful prosecution of a Libyan-sponsored terrorist who planned to attack various New York targets). And for the past 15 years, Alito has served with great distinction on the Third Circuit.

Just as the Left attacked Roberts, it will attack Alito. But President Bush has again selected an outstanding nominee whose intellect, character, experience, and, not least, proper understanding of the role of the courts will earn the deep respect of the American people and of all fair-minded observers.

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