Bench Memos

Judge Alito’s Opening Statement

It was masterful, sincere, perfect. He spoke for 11 minutes — twice as long as Chief Justice Roberts — with no notes. He paid tribute to Justice O’Connor. He paid tribute to his parents: that “I am who I am” — because of them. He spoke of how parents teach even more powerfully through their deeds than their words.

He spoke of his father, an Italian immigrant, made it to college through perseverance and the kindness of others, then served in the Pacific in World War II, became a teacher, and worked for the New Jersey legislature. It was a story, he said, about “the opportunities this country offers.”

He spoke of how his mother, from a culture where women had remained in the house, was the first person in her family to go to college.

He introduced his own children with pride, as well as his sister, his wife, and her parents.

He spoke beautifully about how when he became a judge, he stopped being a lawyer. This powerful lesson about the difference between the role of advocate and the role of judge is central to what divides Senators over his nomination, and the more Americans understand this, the more they will know Judge Alito is correct.

When Judge Alito put on his black robes 15 years ago, his obligation was no longer to any client, he explained: he has no preferred outcome or client in any case. A judge, he said, has only a “solemn obligation to the rule of law.”

He spoke of the “habits of mind” that good judges develop, like delaying a decision until he has examined every bit of information. He said plainly: “no person in this country is above the law, and no person is beneath it.”. (Note: This is what “equal justice under law” means, Senator Kennedy.)

The humility, dedication, and civility that came through Judge Alito’s opening statement was a quiet but powerful refutation of the Kennedy extremism and distortion.

Combined with the strong introduction by Christie Whitman, it was a great first day.

Most Popular


Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More