The Corner

Law & the Courts

Alt for Sixth Circuit

I write to endorse the suggestion of conservative champion and former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell that NRO’s old friend and sometime contributor Robert Alt be nominated to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. I have been told quite reliably (although not by Robert himself, to whom I haven’t spoken in quite some time) that Robert is indeed on at least a semi-short list for the spot (i.e., under serious, rather than just cursory, consideration). Without even knowing who else is on the list, I can say with great certainty that nobody could possibly be a better addition to the federal appellate bench.

As Blackwell notes, Alt actually clerked for the terrific, thoughtful conservative judge he would be replacing, Alice Batchelder. Robert knows the circuit, and he knows the law. Anyone who has ever worked with him knows he is brilliant; anyone who has spent time with him knows he is a warm, engaging, wonderful human being. And anyone who has watched as he moved from the Heritage Foundation to the Buckeye Institute knows that Robert has the soul of a reformer, selflessly dedicated to the public weal.

Robert Alt also writes with great clarity, which was one reason I was already a fan of his several years before I met him. Consider this little NRO column (this one co-written with his then-fellow Heritage scholar Brian Walsh) explaining a business case known as Stoneridge — a post concise enough for me to suggest you read it yourself, written with such great clarity that it is almost impossible not to understand the basic legal issues involved. And I loved the principles, and the economy of words, in his closing sentences:

It is also an important victory for the separation of powers, and for those who believe that Congress, rather than the courts, should be making policy. Because this exemplifies the rule of law as opposed to the rule of men, such results should be commonplace. Because they are no longer commonplace, each one should be applauded.

Good stuff.

I also can say that, as a source and resource for a journalist, Robert was first-rate. If I ever need definitive explanations on the finer points of law, I know I can count on Robert to always, always make sure I accurately understand, and portray, those explanations. He has never led me astray.

I completely agree with Ken Blackwell that someone who has devoted 20 years to the cause of textualism and the rule of law, and willingly received far, far less in the way of prestige and money than he could have done in private practice, will be a truly reliable vote for principled textualism on the court.

Conservatives should all make clear to the Trump administration that Robert Alt would be considered not just a home run but a grand slam as a judicial nominee. And moderates should welcome his humble approach and his attention to case details and procedural questions, rather than the politicized, results-oriented intellectual flim-flam that some jurists adopt.

A phenomenally qualified man (again, see his bio), Alt also is brave, having interrupted his great legal career to serve as a war correspondent in Iraq. His courage extends to his constitutional convictions, which will stand him in good stead as a federal-appeals judge of whom all Americans, especially Ohioans, can be proud.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The Last Trusted Prosecutor in Washington

John Durham may be the most consequential and least known figure in Washington right now. In May, U.S. attorney general William Barr selected Durham, a longtime prosecutor with a résumé so sterling it nearly glows, to investigate the origins of the special counsel’s probe into Russian interference in the ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More
World

WHO Failed

Since its inception 72 years ago almost to the day, the World Health Organization (WHO)  has been credited with the eradication of smallpox and the near eradication of other devastating illnesses, including leprosy and river blindness. This record of success makes the current corruption of the organization ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More
Health Care

The Experts Lied to Us about Masks

When the stakes are highest, the truth counts the most. Or maybe when things get really serious, that’s when the people really can’t be trusted with the truth. It’s pretty clear which of these two ideas is the one that has been guiding elite medical, political, and journalistic institutions, isn’t it? ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More

The Trail Leading Back to the Wuhan Labs

It is understandable that many would be wary of the notion that the origin of the coronavirus could be discovered by some documentary filmmaker who used to live in China. Matthew Tye, who creates YouTube videos, contends he has identified the source of the coronavirus — and a great deal of the information that ... Read More
World

A Curious Report from ABC News

Josh Margolin and James Gordon Meek of ABC News reported earlier today that the Trump Administration was warned in November 2019 about the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan: As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing ... Read More
World

A Curious Report from ABC News

Josh Margolin and James Gordon Meek of ABC News reported earlier today that the Trump Administration was warned in November 2019 about the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan: As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More

The Eeyore Syndrome

In A. A. Milne's classic Winne-the-Pooh children’s tales, Eeyore, the old gray donkey, is perennially pessimistic and gloomy. He always expects the worst to happen. Milne understood that Eeyore’s outbursts of depression could at first be salutatory but then become monotonous. The outlook of the pessimist ... Read More