Alito Hearing: Gender Discrimination

Everyone is blogging the Alito hearings. I'm not going to do a play-by-play, I only got to watch bits and pieces and here's the transcript from this morning.

Of particular interest, Sen. Leahy questioned Judge Alito on his membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group that advocated against having women at Princeton. While at Princeton, Judge Alito was a member of this group. He listed it on a job application for the Reagan Administration. Today, while not denying he was a member, he says he has searched his memory and doesn't recall it, and therefore, he must not have been an active member.

LEAHY: Why in heaven's name, Judge, with your background and what your father faced, why in heaven's name were you proud of being part of CAP?

ALITO: Well, Senator, I have wracked my memory about this issue, and I really have no specific recollection of that organization.

ALITO: But since I put it down on that statement, then I certainly must have been a member at that time. But if I had been actively involved in the organization in any way, if I had attended meetings, or been actively involved in any way, I would certainly remember that, and I don't.

Then Judge Alito goes on to explain his membership in the group as being connected to his support for the war in Vietnam at a time many at Princeton were against it, rather than as a result of a belief that women shouldn't attend Princeton. But he also states,

Senator, as you said, from what I now know about the group, it seemed to be dedicated to the idea of bringing back the Princeton that existed at a prior point in time. And as you said, somebody from my background would not have been comfortable in an institution like that, and that certainly was not any part of my thinking in whatever I did in relation to this group.

But that's exactly what the group was about and he was a member.

Princeton had only recently become co-ed (in 1969), and many of the males, particularly those who had attended private male-only prep schools, were very uncomfortable with women attending. They weren't used to being around women their own age and were uncomfortable in their presence. They wanted Princeton to go back to the way it was before -- a male only institution.

Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings attended Princeton in the late 70's when CAP was still active and recalls,

CAP was dedicated to finding outrages that it took to be caused by the horrible fact that women and minorities were being admitted to Princeton. The need to find outrages generally came first; any encounter with facts came later. For this reason, CAP tended to attract not conservatives per se, but the sort of conservative who is forever getting deeply hysterical about some perceived threat to a supposed previous golden age, who sees such threats everywhere, and who is willing to completely distort the truth in order to feed his (and it generally was 'his') obsessions.

She describes the extreme tactics of the group, which are confirmed by this article in the Daily Princetonian.

I would bet there are alumni of Princeton who recall Judge Alito's participation differently from the way he described it today. Out of 800 alumni, I hope a few come forward.

One more note: Senator Hatch tried to undo the Leahy questioning.

Hatch: So let me just ask you directly, on the record, are you against women and minorities attending colleges?

ALITO: Absolutely not, Senator. No. ...

He also said,

ALITO: Senator, I had never attended a non-coeducational school until I went to Princeton. And after I was there a short time, I realized the benefits of attending a coeducational school.

I have real doubts as to whether Alito told the truth about his CAP membership.
Sen. Leahy said he will return to the issue, and I hope he does.

Update: I wonder what Alito's classmates in the 1972 Princeton graduating class have to say about his participation in CAP. Maybe someone wants to contact them.

Update: Read MyDD and the Judiciary Committee Minority Staff statement on this.

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    Re: Alito Hearing: Gender Discrimination (none / 0) (#1)
    by desertswine on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 12:41:26 PM EST
    ...are you against women and minorities attending colleges?
    gimme a break...

    Re: Alito Hearing: Gender Discrimination (none / 0) (#2)
    by Sailor on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 03:12:47 PM EST
    CAP’s PROSPECT magazine had an article written by then PROSPECT editor Frederick Foote, Foote writes: “The facts show that, for whatever reasons, whites today are more intelligent than blacks.” Gee, bush suddenly can't remember 'kenny boy'; rumsfeld claims 'I never said that!' even tho there is video of him doing so; and scalito can't remember belonging to a racist, misogynous organization that he proudly listed on a job resume. Lying to congress is a crime.

    Re: Alito Hearing: Gender Discrimination (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Jan 11, 2006 at 10:37:24 AM EST
    Sailor... Lying to congress is a crime. What is it about those on the left that can't reconcile what the word "lying" really means? Not being able to recall...is a far cry from lying! He never said he didn't belong...just that he can't recall being active ... attending meetings ....ect. Is that all you Dems got? LOL