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Judge Alito: Criminal Opinions Reflect His Days as Prosecutor

The Newark Ledger today has an analysis of more than 200 opinions Judge Alito authored on criminal law during his 15 years on the bench.

As senators and advocacy groups pore over legal writings by Alito, the New Jersey native nominated to the Supreme Court, they will find a by-the-book interpreter of the law whose opinions in criminal matters reflect his many years as a federal prosecutor in New Jersey and advocate for Justice Department in Washington.

If the decision is close, Alito tends to side with law enforcement and rarely treads new ground, according to interviews with legal scholars and a review of more than two dozen opinions he has written in the past 15 years....Alito seems willing to give the benefit of the doubt to law enforcement.

The article cites several examples. [Via Sentencing Law and Policy whose author, Law Prof Doug Berman, is quoted in the article.]

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    Re: Judge Alito: Criminal Opinions Reflect His Day (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM EST
    i notice judge alito's law school, yale, is almost universally against his confirmation. not only for his arch-conservatism, but for his tortured opinions. apparently, the good judge never saw a constitutional right that he felt should actually be upheld. those silly founding fathers, whatever were they thinking?

    Re: Judge Alito: Criminal Opinions Reflect His Day (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM EST
    That's not a very accurate summary of this article from the NY Times, cpinva. In any event, the article is pretty anecdotal and haphazard. I was at Yale last weekend for my 30th reunion (Alito's class) and I found the sentiment there (among faculty and alums, not necessarily students) to be pretty mixed. The issue is not necessarily whether we would choose a judge like Alito for the Supreme Court if we had our druthers. (I certainly wouldn't.) I think it's necessary to consider the probability (nil, I'd say) that progressives will take over the Senate in 2006. So, this seat is not going to be kept open until we have a different President. To my mind, then, in the real world, the issue is whether you should oppose Judge Alito as compared with the other possibilities that might get appointed this year. As for Constitutional rights, you exaggerate: in fact, Alito has a very strong record on the First Amendment, both as to speech and as to free exercise of religion.

    Re: Judge Alito: Criminal Opinions Reflect His Day (none / 0) (#3)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM EST
    WaTi people dug out an old letter of Alito's that he wrote when applying for a position with AG Meese. Interesting. Here are some quotes: "I am and always have been a conservative," "It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," ... "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." "I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values," "When I first became interested in government and politics during the 1960s, the greatest influences on my views were the writings of William F. Buckley Jr., the National Review, and Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign," he said. "In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause, and reapportionment." Would be nice to be able to read it in its entirety.

    Re: Judge Alito: Criminal Opinions Reflect His Day (none / 0) (#4)
    by wg on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:05 PM EST
    A perfect primer on how to shamelessly peddle your ideological bona fides to Attorney General, isn't it? Moreover the letter seems to confirm all the suspicions about him. Everything is here, religion, abortion, quotas, government as a protector of traditional values, effective police, and an apparently fundamental disagreement with the Supreme Court going as long back as Warren's court. Note that he never mentions civil rights, privacy or the need to protect private citizens from excesses of government powers. This candidacy is simply too risky, Peter.