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Alito: The Career Prosecutor

From Legal Intelligencer:

After a clerkship with 3rd Circuit Judge Leonard I. Garth, Alito worked as a front-line federal prosecutor in New Jersey for four years. But soon after President Ronald Reagan was elected, Alito joined the Office of the Solicitor General, staying for four years and helping to decide what position the administration would take in cases up for review by the Supreme Court.

That was followed by a three-year stint at Main Justice as a deputy assistant attorney general. In 1987, at the age of 37, Alito was appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a post he held until he was tapped in 1990 by the first President Bush to join the 3rd Circuit.

Before becoming a judge, after a short stint as a law clerk for a federal judge, Alito's entire career --from 1977 to 1990 -- was as a prosecutor or attorney for the Government.

Again, my prediction: A disaster appointment for those who care about the constitutional rights of the accused. I don't want a career prosecutor like Alito on the Supreme Court. I fear he will be a major proponent of the war on drugs, the death penalty and the war against immigrants, while he will rule to restrict habeas rights and Miranda.

Here's more from Alliance for Justice (pdf):

[Alito has shown]limited appreciation for the rights of the accused. In one noteworthy dissent, he dismissed evidence of race discrimination by a prosecutor in jury selection. In another
opinion, he upheld a death sentence against a claim that the defendant’s counsel was constitutionally deficient. The Supreme Court reversed 5-4, with Justice O’Connor casting the deciding vote.

PFAW on a death pranlty case in which an opinion he wrote was reversed by his circuit en banc:

[Alito]Fails to consider racial discrimination in capital punishment: An African American had been convicted of felony murder by an all white jury from which black jurors had been impermissibly struck because of their race. Alito cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 2-1 ruling rejecting the defendant's claims. The full Third Circuit, in a split decision, reversed Alito's ruling, and the majority specifically criticized him for having compared statistical evidence about the prosecution's exclusion of blacks from juries in capital cases to an explanation of why a disproportionate number of recent U.S. Presidents have been left-handed. According to the majority, "[t]o suggest any comparability to the striking of jurors based on their race is to minimize the history of discrimination against prospective black jurors and black defendants . . ."

White Collar Crime Blog reports:

In another case familiar to those who follow white collar crime cases, he wrote the opinion in United States v. McDade, 28 F.3d 283 (3d Cir. 1994), that rejected then-Representative Joseph McDade's challenge to the government's RICO and corruption charges on the grounds that it violated the Speech or Debate Clause, holding that the government was not questioning the Congressman about his statements. The government's prosecution of McDade, and his subsequent acquittal, led to the adoption by Congress of the McDade Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 530B, which requires federal prosecutors to adhere to the professional responsibility rules of the state in which the attorney practices, and the Hyde Amendment, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3006A Note, which permits an award of attorney's fees to a defendant who is a "prevailing party" in a prosecution.

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    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:34 PM EST
    as near as i can tell, the constitution makes no provision for either the federal or state governments to opine or legislate in the area of personal medical care. as such, no laws regarding the provision of abortions, except those related to ensuring the quality of medical personnel & physical plant, have any constitutional standing, period. further, as i read judge alito's dissenting opinion in casey, i realized that his law school education was apparently ass-backwards: he is of the opinion that a legislative body has no responsibility for showing a greater public good, vs a narrowing of personal constitutional rights, when writing statutes, exactly the opposite intention of the authors. what back-of-the-matchbook-cover law school did this guy attend again? surely, it wasn't a u.s. accredited one? if so, for the sake of their own honor and integrity, his degree should be rescinded. charley & ras, have you always been twits? or is it only when you come here? kennedy & bork? geez, that was what, 20 years ago, and you're just now bringing it up? by the way, bork borked himself, he needed no help from anyone.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#1)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    TL, Alito has been a judge for over a decade now, so by def'n he is NOT a "career prosecutor." You knew about him being a judge, right?

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    The point is his only experience before becoming a judge was as a prosecutor and attorney for the government.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    No charley, I think she means the war on immigrants legal or otherwise. You know, the english language as our "NATIONAL" and OFFICIAL language, that sort of thing. So when the majority of Americans clearly and repeatedly demonstrate their preference for something like abortion and privacy rights, which is what the abortion issue ultimately falls to, and the right wing judges vow to overturn those rights, rule against those rights, or opine in the minority against those rights, doesn't that make those judges, then, un-democratic?

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Not that I support his turkey, or anything, but here's a trivia question for you: Who was the last career prosecutor to be appointed to the Court? Earl Warren, right?

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jlvngstn on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    This is a great appointment for Republicans, after all only democrats commit crime, only dems have abortions, and every illegal alien registers as a dem during voting season. So, quite naturally speaking, only the dems will be affected by this appointment.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#6)
    by ltgesq on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Most of us who practice criminal law are quite familiar with the "prosecutor from the bench." They will twist the facts, ignore facts, and even make up facts to make the facts fit the argument they want to make. It seems to me that he fits right in with the group presently in the whitehouse. It is a simple judicial philosophy: 1.) Congress has no power to enact laws that disturb my close associates in their enternal persuit of more power, money, everything 2.) The constitution protects my right to tell you how to live your lives in concordance with my religious beliefs.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#7)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Cool! Now I can get that machine gun that I've always wanted!

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Bush is an unindicted war criminal and traitor. Without our impeachment rights, there is no Supreme Court. It's a gallows for democracy, and the felons on the Court ought to wear black hooded masks, just like in the old days. "How does the heretic plead? Then let the flames purify his guilt." Another ruling by Justice Torquemada, brought to you by POX News.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#9)
    by ras on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    One notes the tone of the attacks: angry, but unfocused and lacking any strategy. Alito's sailing right along, and I'm impressed by how quickly the Left has moved from Denial all the way to Acceptance on the very first day.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#10)
    by LizDexic on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    And what did Alito do during the Viet Nam war? Just askin'

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#11)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    Given his history in California Warren was a complete surprise to everybody However it is reasonable to assume that 95 out of 100 candidates will continue in their old ways, which are the chances the country can poorly afford these days.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    LTGEsq: Don't guess at Judge Alito's predilictions. I am a full-time criminal defense appellate litigator, and more than half my cases are in the 3d Circuit. Alito -- unlike some judges we both know -- does *not* "twist the facts, ignore facts, and even make up facts to make the facts fit the argument they want to make." He is intellectually honest in the highest degree. He has written 8 opinions I can find in capital cases; in 6 he voted to uphold the death sentence. In two cases, he wrote opinions overturning lower court denials of habeas corpus relief to death-sentenced prisoners. Williams, 343 F.3d 223 (2003); Carpenter, 296 F.3d 138 (2002). On the other hand, in one case his opinion to deny relief was overturned by the Supreme Court in a close vote opinion by Souter. Rompilla, 355 F3d 233. He is very conservative, but he is neither knee-jerk nor dishonest. As two more examples, compare US v Hodge, 246 F3d 301 (2001), overturning a suppression order and upholding a search, with US v Kithcart, 134 F.3d 529 (1998) overturning the denial of a suppression motion and finding no probable cause to arrest. Finally, check out his opinions in US v Murray, 103 F3d 310 (1997), overturning a federal murder conviction because of the prosecutor's unfair use of evidence of the defendant's prior misconduct (other killings), and in US v Rosero, 42 F3d 166 (1994), reversing a marijuana smuggling conviction based on complex application of international criminal law concerning stateless vessels. Simplistic cartooning won't do here.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    LizXedic: Very fair question about Vietnam. IIRC, Sam Alito was in ROTC at Princeton and remained a member in law school.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    Rea If by "career prosecutor" you mean Governor of California, then Warren would be correct.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#15)
    by aw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    I wonder how people will feel when they find out he thought no civil rights violation occurred when cops strip-searched a suspect's wife and 10-year-old daughter?

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#16)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    Concerning illegal immigration, neither party wants to confront it. Dems see illegals as potential voters; Repubs see them as cheap labor for business. By the way Charly, I find it amusing when righ-wingers such as yourself complain about democracy being "thwarted" by judges. Aren't you the guys who have insisted for years that the U.S. is a republic, and not a democracy? You care only about democracy when the public agrees with you. It won't always be that way, believe me.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    And by the way, who is the one justice most likely to overturn congressional legislation over the past 10 years? None other than Antonin Scalia. Doesn't sound like judicial restraint to me. In fact, it sounds more like "thwarting" democracy.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    LizDexic writes:
    And what did Alito do during the Viet Nam war? Just askin'
    I don't have all the details, but during Christmas of '68 he was with Kerry in Cambodia....

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#19)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    sorry, it's actually Scalia's less intelligent clone Clarence Thomas who is most likely to overturn congressional legislation.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:36 PM EST
    CHARLEY, CHARLEY, CHARLEY... What lies are we talking about re: Bork. Remember Watergate? When a President thrarted democracy to stay in power? Remember how he told his Attorney General to fire the special prosecutor, who quit instead, then told his Deputy Attorney to fire him, who also refused. Finally he turned to Bork, who complied, making him a station to Kings rather than citizens. Bork lost his chance right there.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#22)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    Peter, I don't know if you realize how scary this observation of yours is. ... Alito -- unlike some judges we both know -- does *not* "twist the facts, ignore facts, and even make up facts to make the facts fit the argument they want to make." ...

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    the left doesn't realize that they do not have the media monopoly held in the days of the lies from Kennedy during the Robert Bork hearings
    Charley has just admitted that he doesn't believe the media are a liberal cabal. Wow, how disappointing it must be for him that there's all this trouble from a CONSERVATIVE media.

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#25)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    Charley, Since you repeatedly call Kennedy a "killer", do you also call Laura Bush the same? If not, then why not?

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    [deleted. Paul, one more libelous statement about anyone and you are off this site.] Bushliar has killed 40, 50, 60 THOUSAND women... ...in order to pay back his backers and be an autocrat writing his name in the book of history in other people's blood. That's so he can stand how he looks when he looks in the mirror (which he tries to avoid).

    Re: Alito: The Career Prosecutor (none / 0) (#27)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:38 PM EST
    Upon reading the comments in left wing blogs, one comes away with two unmistakeable impressions: (1) American schools are failing miserably as evidenced by the lack of understanding of the foundation of our Country, the Constitition; and (2) we need to reinstate intelligence testing for voters because the extremely ignorant or stupid do not deserve to participate in electoral politics. The follwing comment, excerpted from above, is a case in point: "So when the majority of Americans clearly and repeatedly demonstrate their preference for something like abortion and privacy rights, which is what the abortion issue ultimately falls to, and the right wing judges vow to overturn those rights, rule against those rights, or opine in the minority against those rights, doesn't that make those judges, then, un-democratic?" The level of ignornace displayed by this comment is frightening. What is "un-democratic" is when SCOTUS, by judicial fiat, rewrites the Constitution, or more accurately totally ignores the Constitution, as was the case in in Roe, Bollinger, Lawrenece and countless other opinions cherished by the left. There is one and only one way for the Constitution to be altered, changed, expanded or contracted, via the Amndement process set forth in Article V of the document itself. At all times and in all cases, when the Court expands rights or creates new ones, it engages in an illegitmate exercise of raw power that is anethema to democracy and undermines our system of government. When the PEOPLE want to exercise their will and their RIGHT to "change the rules," they are free to do so via Article V. All other changes (and this does not included cases like Brown which simply commanded what was obvious based on the text of the document) are an affront to democracy, even when favored by 60% of voters. Absent sufficient Democratic support for an Article V Amendment, changes or expansions in rights, including patently absurd ones such as in Griswold and Roe, are utterly illegitimate and cry out to be reversed. That is why the Country NEEDS Alito, and others like him, on the Court, to wash away the dirt and slime that has infected Constitutional Jurisprudence since at leats the days of the Warren Court.