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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Oh, That Old Thing? Alito Ducks.

Gotta love this dodge by Alito, from his Senate questionnaire. The questionnaire asks him to
List all professional, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic, charitable, or other organizations, other than those listed in response to Questions 10 or 11, to which you belong, or to which you have belonged, or in which you have participated since graduation from law school.
By now just about everyone knows about Alito's membership in the group Concerned Alumni of Princeton -- a nice bunch of folks who were really "concerned" about the admission of women to Princeton; the large number of racial minorities on campus, compared to legacy students; and promoting birth control, among other bugaboos of the latter part of the 20th Century. Alito trumpted this membership in his bid to become a political appointee in the Reagan DOJ.

But apparently now he has no direct memory of this time of youthful indiscretions (as the elderly Henry Hyde once referred to his conduct of an extra-martial affair at the tender age of 46):
Concerned Alumni of Princeton: This was a group of Princeton alumni. A document I recently reviewed reflects that I was a member of the group in the 1980s. Apart from that document, I have no recollection of being a member, of attending meetings, or otherwise participating in the activities of the group. The group has no current officers from whom more information may be obtained.
Yeah. And Clarence Thomas had never ever thought seriously about Roe v Wade before he testified to the SJC.

I can't say it any better than Marty Lederman already has:
This seems very hard to believe. From everything I've heard, however, Judge Alito is an honest and straight-shooting fellow; so I'm willing to assume that his CAP membership and participation were so fleeting, so negligible, in the 1980s that he truly does not recall them now, 20 years later. But, if that's indeed the case, what does that say about his citation of his CAP membership on his OLC application back in 1985, in order to demonstrate how died-in-the-wool conservative he was? The whole incident is very odd.

P.S. Just to be clear: I'm not suggesting that being fond of the early-60's National Review as a teenager should disqualify someone for a Supreme Court seat forty years later. But going out of one's way in the mid-80s to emphasize how one's philosophy was formed by that youthful dalliance with such a periodical? And doing so in order to demonstrate one's fitness for an high-level OLC post? Well, that's something else entirely . . .
Honestly, I thought that conservatives (you know, the folks who proudly supported groups like the CAP back in the 80s, when it wasn't so cool) wanted a nominee who would deliver an honest, proud, chest-out kind of debate on their jurisprudential views. I was kind of looking forward to that debate.

But it looks like Alito's just going to try to duck when faced with his record, of which he was once so proud.


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