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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Alito Shines At Hearings

Bill Saunders

Someday, at some point, the hearings into the nomination of Samuel Alito to serve on the US Supreme Court will, mercifully, conclude. I say "mercifully" because they have, in many ways, been an exercise in slander against Judge Alito by ideologically-left members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Even so, I hope every American viewed these hearings. Of course, that is highly unlikely — most Americans, even the press, seem to understand Altio will, and should be, confirmed. Still, I hope C-SPAN has had its highest viewership ever! I believe anyone who did watch the hearings will conclude, as I do, that there has probably never been a more qualified, finer person nominated to serve on the Supreme Court.

The most telling testimony, in my opinion, came Thursday afternoon from the American Bar Association and, later, from a panel of judges who serve with Alito on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sam Alito is being nominated to serve as a judge on the nation's highest court. Is he qualified? Surely, it is obvious that no one is better placed to judge that than those who have served with him as judges on the Sixth Circuit. Such people have seen him in action, as a judge, in all contexts, on the bench and at private judicial conferences. What did six of these judges say on Thursday?

Judge Becker wisely noted that there are four criteria to consider — temperament, integrity, intellect, and approach to the law. How did Becker, who has served with Alito as a judge for 15 years, evaluate him by these standards?

Regarding his temperament he said, "Sam Alito is a wonderful human being. He's gentle, considerate, unfailingly polite, decent, kind, patient and generous. He's modest and self-effacing. He shuns praise."

Pause for a moment to note how extraordinary this is. I doubt if anyone reading this column would expect to be so described (certainly this writer would not).

What did Becker have to say on the other three criteria? On integrity: "Sam Alito is a soul of honor." On intellect: "Judge Alito's intellect is of a very high order. He's brilliant, he's highly analytical and meticulous and careful in his comments and his written work." On judicial philosophy: "He's a real judge deciding each case on the facts and the law, not on his personal views, whatever they may be."

Becker's colleagues agreed unanimously with him regarding the qualifications of Judge Alito. Please go to C-SPAN's archives and see for yourself. Remember, they have served for years and years and years with him (and some have known him, and worked with him in other contexts, for more than 30 years). If there were any merit to the charges against him, they'd be the ones who know, and they were unanimous that the charges are groundless.

Also, highly relevant, is the investigation by the American Bar Association. Please read carefully what the ABA panel reported to the Senate Judiciary Committee —

In the case of Judge Alito, circuit members combined to contact well over 2,000 individuals throughout this nation. Those contacts cut across virtually every demographic consideration and it included judges, lawyers and members of the general community. Thereafter, circuit members interviewed more than 300 people who knew, had worked with, or had substantial knowledge of the nominee. All interviews regarding the nominee were fully confidential to assure the most candid of assessments. Judge Alito has created a substantial written record over his years of public service. Our three reading groups worked collaboratively to read and evaluate nearly 350 of his published opinions, several dozen of his unpublished opinions, a number of his Supreme Court oral argument transcripts and corresponding briefs, and other articles and legal memos. We are ultimately persuaded that Judge Alito has, throughout his 15 years on the federal bench, established a record of both proper judicial conduct and even-handed application in seeking to do what is fundamentally fair. As such, on the basis of its comprehensive investigation and with one recusal, the standing committee unanimously concluded that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. is well qualified to serve as associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. His integrity, his professional competence and his judicial temperament are, indeed, found to be of the highest standard.That is a long quotation, but, I feel, it is highly relevant. Let me repeat the last sentence from the ABA's testimony: "His integrity, his professional competence and his judicial temperament are, indeed, found to be of the highest standard." Could anyone reasonably want any other kind of Supreme Court justice?

Yet, to listen to the ideological-left on the Senate Judiciary Committee, one would think he is a lowdown, unethical, racist, sexist, lying dog. I think that in passing that judgment they only condemn themselves. Samuel Alito is one of the finest people ever nominated to the Court, qualified by every measure, and I expect he will be confirmed soon.

Bill Saunders is the Senior Fellow and Director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Life & Bioethics. The views expressed are his and are not meant to represent official institutional views of FRC.

  • (This article courtesy of The Fact

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