Judge Sotomayor, this morning: “The message that the entire speech attempted to deliver, however, remains the message that I think Justice O’Connor meant, the message that higher nominees, including Justice Alito meant when he said that his Italian ancestry, he considers when he’s deciding discrimination cases.”
Senate Republicans looked back at Alito’s confirmation-hearing testimony, and in fact, his message was pretty different; he was emphasizing that even though he has a sense of connection or empathy with the figures in his cases, he couldn’t bend or change the law in either direction.
Judge Samuel Alito: “And so it’s my job to apply the law. It’s not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result. But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, ‘You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country.’”
In that context, it seems that Alito’s point is that while he knows his ancestors could be in the shoes of the plaintiff, he can’t consider that as a factor when he’s deciding a discrimination case.