Alito's hidden talents


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Nathaniel Firethorn
January 10, 2006, 06:09 PM
http://www.jsonline.com/news/nat/jan06/383873.asp Alito is more than just a serious thinker
Springsteen fan also likes to cook, read about history
Associated Press, Washington Post
Posted: Jan. 10, 2006

Washington - He's a Springsteen fan, history buff and marksman. He can whip up a salmon pâté, but don't ask him to bake a cake. His marriage proposal began as an offer to take dancing lessons.

These insights into Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito came from his wife, Martha, who confided that the man who has pondered weighty issues as a federal appeals judge for more than a decade has some interesting quirks.

She sat down for the exclusive interview with The Washington Post. Rarely do spouses of a nominee give interviews; the last to do so was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's husband in 1993.

Alito's music tastes tend toward Beethoven and Bruce Springsteen, but "I force him to listen to Scarlatti and Bach," Martha Alito said. He once attended a ska festival.

Lately, her husband has been reading "Civil War stuff," Martha Alito says. Once, he began teaching himself Greek so he could read the philosophers in their original language. He also took up juggling.

"He's a great marksman - he can do double clays," she says, meaning he can hit two clay pigeon targets thrown simultaneously into the air before either hits the ground.

On their first date, they discussed a movie about an Asian mystic's travels through Afghanistan and his search for the meaning of life. Alito's marriage proposal began with a different sort of proposal - "Let's go take dancing lessons."

Her husband is a gourmet cook, skilled in such delicacies as salmon pâté, but don't expect dessert. "He's not a baker," Martha Alito said.

He usually prepares the family's holiday dinner, but last month he was too tied up with nomination matters, she said.

The nomination matters reached the public stage Monday, as Alito entered the cavernous hearing room escorted by the most senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Alito shook hands, smiled for the cameras and took his seat behind the witness table. Official duties finished for the moment, he turned to his cheering section.

The nominee nodded to his wife and to his sister, Rosemary, a trial attorney.

Alito then looked toward his high-school-age daughter, Laura. He grinned at college-student son Philip, then on to his in-laws: Gene and Barbara Bomgardner.

Other seats behind him were filled by friends and cousins, Alito said.OTOH, there's that Springsteen thing...

- NF

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Lennyjoe
January 10, 2006, 06:12 PM
Just watched Feinstein batter him with her crap. She really is a lost cause.

Rusher
January 10, 2006, 06:26 PM
I just caught the last end of the Feinstein bantering and i was just thinking the same exact thing "what a lost cause" and much head shaking ensued.......

Im glad I left my home state of California every minute I see her on TV

El Tejon
January 10, 2006, 06:32 PM
Ska? Oh, great, now we'll have Sublime song lyrics in Supreme Court opinions.:D

Too bad it did not read: "He's a great marksman. He got an e-ticket at Gunsite most of the times he has been.":D

Civil War buff=gun buff usually? At least, he should know about the Slave and Black codes then.

Dancing, cooking for them, Norah Jones and saki. All silver bullets for women.:evil:

MrTuffPaws
January 10, 2006, 06:40 PM
His daughter is a hottie too! :D

Otherguy Overby
January 10, 2006, 06:43 PM
On the second ammendment he appears not to understand it. The machine gun ruling he made was based on the gun not moving through interstate commerce. If one reads the second ammendment, Congress has no power over firearm ownership regardless where the firearm has been. Using the Commerce Clause is a government subterfuge.

I'm really wary of this guy.

Cosmoline
January 10, 2006, 06:56 PM
Alito was referencing the current SCT doctrine on the Commerce Clause. As a lower court judge he has no power to overturn this doctrine.

Your opinion on the extent of the 2nd is duly noted, but just as meaningless as my opinion. What we are waiting for is a clear Supreme Court holding on the matter, but they have been avoiding that for over half a century.

El Tejon
January 10, 2006, 07:05 PM
And was a Second Amendment challenge made in that suit???:confused:

Thought it was Commerce Clause, the big hammer of unlimited government.

geoff40
January 10, 2006, 07:11 PM
I am alarmed at this guy's stances on the rights of the branches of government. IMO he is not what we should support. Bush can come up with someone a lot better than this guy.

yucaipa
January 10, 2006, 07:17 PM
Just watched Feinstein batter him with her crap. She really is a lost cause.


She didn't have a chance she painted herself as a one issue Senator going in, Alito knew it and was waiting for her.


If she asked him what day it was she might of at least caught him off guard, for a second or two.:D

Cosmoline
January 10, 2006, 07:25 PM
I am alarmed at this guy's stances on the rights of the branches of government. IMO he is not what we should support. Bush can come up with someone a lot better than this guy.

Who?

rock jock
January 10, 2006, 07:50 PM
Bush can come up with someone a lot better than this guy.
No, he can't. Alito is pushing the limits of someone who can actually be confirmed.

I'm going to make a rather contrversial statement: I think Alito has no agenda. I think he is a dedicated jurist and, as such, is willing to consider the various theories on Constitutional interpretation as argued during each case. You and I have no idea how he will rule on the 2nd, but I AM confident that we would have a much better shot with him than most others.

geoff40
January 10, 2006, 07:52 PM
Who?
With 100's of qualified potential judges, pick one.
Someone who actually supports the rights of individual ownership of machine guns.
Or do you think a full auto doesn't belong in private hands?

How about someone who has a problem with the police strip searching a 10 year old girl who has done nothing wrong?
Would you want the police strip searching your 10 year old?

Cosmoline
January 10, 2006, 08:10 PM
You'd be surprised how few sitting judges are willing to openly support a broad interpretation of the 2nd. THose few who do would never get past the Senate. Alito is as good as it gets.

Are you suggesting there should be some prohibition of searching children or women? There is no such limitation, since if there were it would be an easy matter to hide illegal items on your kids.

Besides, the case you are referring to addressed the scope of a 1983 civil action, not whether it's possible to get a warrant to search a girl.

geoff40
January 10, 2006, 09:13 PM
You'd be surprised how few sitting judges are willing to openly support a broad interpretation of the 2nd. THose few who do would never get past the Senate. Alito is as good as it gets.

Are you suggesting there should be some prohibition of searching children or women? There is no such limitation, since if there were it would be an easy matter to hide illegal items on your kids.

Besides, the case you are referring to addressed the scope of a 1983 civil action, not whether it's possible to get a warrant to search a girl.

Actually, he wrote specific language and references in his decision about the strip search, you should get your facts straight. Nowhere does anything mention women, where did that come from? And the case isn't about limitations to searching anyone with probable cause, it is about strip searching a child, using probable cause provided by the same entity that conducted the strip search, a girl who isn't believed to be invloved in any crime and isn't named in a warrant. You might think it's okay, but I think it sounds like Nazi Germany.

Michael Courtney
January 10, 2006, 09:23 PM
On the second ammendment he appears not to understand it. The machine gun ruling he made was based on the gun not moving through interstate commerce. If one reads the second ammendment, Congress has no power over firearm ownership regardless where the firearm has been. Using the Commerce Clause is a government subterfuge.

I'm really wary of this guy.


Why reference the 2nd when it's not needed. Had he referenced the 2nd, he would have a much harder time getting confirmed now. Once he's confirmed, he can base every decision he wants on the 2nd.

Many judicial decisions will avoid referencing the 2nd if they can render a decision giving the same effect without it. And the feds need as much reminding of the boundaries of the commerce clause as the meaning of the 2nd.

Only true conservatives understand the violence Congress does to original intent under the guise of regulating interstate commerce.

Michael Courtney

Cosmoline
January 10, 2006, 09:52 PM
Actually, he wrote specific language and references in his decision about the strip search, you should get your facts straight. Nowhere does anything mention women, where did that come from? And the case isn't about limitations to searching anyone with probable cause, it is about strip searching a child, using probable cause provided by the same entity that conducted the strip search, a girl who isn't believed to be invloved in any crime and isn't named in a warrant. You might think it's okay, but I think it sounds like Nazi Germany.

My facts are straight. The opinion addressed the ability of the plaintiffs in a 1983 action to bring suit against the officers who engaged in a search of several individuals who were named in the affidavit but not in the warrant. You've been reading too much leftist propaganda I'm afraid. The question of whether or not the warrant was valid was not before the federal court--only the ability of the plaintiffs to bring a damages claim for the actions of the officers. Alito argued that the officers had a reasonable basis to believe that their affidavit requesting the ability to search everyone in the house had been granted, even though the warrant itself was just a terse John Doe warrant.

http://www.law.umich.edu/library/news/topics/alito/dissentingopinions/doe2004.pdf

CAnnoneer
January 11, 2006, 01:30 AM
I expect Alito to roll back things like affirmative action as well as some gun restrictions. On the downside, he will probably get rid of abortion, as the swing vote.

I would also caution that an agendaless justice cuts both ways. If law becomes a mathematical exercise without common sense or values of liberty, it can make itself meaningless by colliding with the mismatches between human linearity and the complexity of reality.

beerslurpy
January 11, 2006, 01:45 AM
No, actually the worst the supreme court could do is de-federalize abortion. Abortions werent illegal at a federal level before Roe and they wouldnt become illegal if Roe went away. It would become a state-level issue again. Personally I dont think that anyone wants to touch the abortion issue. Most of the public (including many otherwise conservative republicans) actually strongly support access to abortions. If they play it the wrong way, this issue has the potential to burn the republicans badly, hurting them amongst conservative women and religious conservatives. This would undo all the good work they did in other places like gun control, shrinking govt and controlling illegal immigration. Ok, well one out of three.

On the gun control issue, you guys need to wake up and read between the lines. Machine gun posession is an enormous hot button issue. Most judges (like most non-gunny people) reflexively find ANY excuse to rule against the right of citizens to possess machine guns. It horrifies them.

Alito is not disturbed by the concept of civilian machine gun ownership. That alone should be reason enough for us to be pleased. That he is willing to entertain the idea opens him up to the enormous body of 2nd amendment scholarship that has amassed in the previous 10-15 years, virtually all of it pro gun. This takes us in a very positive direction. Remember the only binding 2nd amendment precedent at the supreme court level is Miller, which is comaptible with both an individual right and possession of military weapons. As discussed during the Roberts hearings, the lower court precedents all conflict on individual right so it is almost certain they will hear such a case in the foreseeable future.

We need one more reliable conservative/libertarian (Kozinski? JRBrown?) after this and we can finally start to undo the years of damage that previous courts did to constitutional jurisprudence. It horrifies me when I look at the list of supreme court justices and see 8 nominated by Roosevelt followed by Truman, etc. It will probably take us another 50 years to undo the damage done by the fascism of the 1930s-40s.

geoff40
January 11, 2006, 07:38 AM
You guys need to get a clue about "shrinking government" by the Republican party BS. This is a total lie. Government spending and creation of new programs is every bit as out of control as it ever was.
In fact our deficits and debts have piled up faster in the last 5 years than they ever have before. This whole GOP shrinking 'guv stuff is total BS.

You know what Bush is doing? He doesn't want to raise taxes to pay for it, so he is borrowing record amounts of money, from places like China, to pay for all this. Maybe you guys ought to seek out the factual numbers of what sort of amounts of cash we are borrowing from China. Somehow I think if I typed them here you'd think I was lying.
You think Clintoon's deals with China were bad, well all I can say is we better hope the Chinese don't decide to call them in.

Tell the truth, even when you don't want to hear it.

Janitor
January 11, 2006, 08:04 AM
And that post has what to do with Alito's nomination?

Or are you just in a Republican bashing mood?
-

BigG
January 11, 2006, 09:06 AM
Bustin' clays sounds pretty dang gun friendly to me. /Andy Griffith :D

RealGun
January 11, 2006, 09:50 AM
I am alarmed at this guy's stances on the rights of the branches of government. IMO he is not what we should support. Bush can come up with someone a lot better than this guy.

No, he can't. He can't do anything that would draw compliments and support from Democrats.

Manedwolf
January 11, 2006, 12:06 PM
No, he can't. Alito is pushing the limits of someone who can actually be confirmed.

I'm going to make a rather contrversial statement: I think Alito has no agenda. I think he is a dedicated jurist and, as such, is willing to consider the various theories on Constitutional interpretation as argued during each case. You and I have no idea how he will rule on the 2nd, but I AM confident that we would have a much better shot with him than most others.

To me, the fact that he's using "Well, I was working under Reagan and trying to get into positions" as an EXCUSE for why he'd said what he said back in 1988 on various issues is pretty much saying "I am a monkey. I will stand on my head or peel a banana or play a drum for you if you can elevate my position, I have no shame and will say anything even if I don't mean it."

Haven't we had enough of that sort?

beerslurpy
January 11, 2006, 12:09 PM
I'd act like a trained animal to get on the supreme court. Doesnt mean I would stop being pro gun and pro liberty. You guys need to stop looking for excuses to hate what is obviously a win for our side.

The real battle comes when one of the leftists retires, if such a thing transpires during this administration. That really would change the balance of the court on many many issues. They all seem in reasonably good health unfortunately.

RealGun
January 11, 2006, 12:25 PM
To me, the fact that he's using "Well, I was working under Reagan and trying to get into positions" as an EXCUSE for why he'd said what he said back in 1988 on various issues is pretty much saying "I am a monkey. I will stand on my head or peel a banana or play a drum for you if you can elevate my position, I have no shame and will say anything even if I don't mean it."

Haven't we had enough of that sort?

Except that he didn't say that and wouldn't.

RealGun
January 11, 2006, 12:28 PM
I'd act like a trained animal to get on the supreme court. Doesnt mean I would stop being pro gun and pro liberty. You guys need to stop looking for excuses to hate what is obviously a win for our side.

The real battle comes when one of the leftists retires, if such a thing transpires during this administration. That really would change the balance of the court on many many issues. They all seem in reasonably good health unfortunately.

To tag Alito as pro-gun is a leap IMO. All he said is that Congress failed to include a "finding of fact" in the law, and that such was the reason the law was struck down. It was technical and expressed nothing about guns pro or con.

publius
January 11, 2006, 08:23 PM
The machine gun case was not about the 2nd amendment. Maybe it should have been, but it was not. It was about the commerce clause, and on first glance, Alito (http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/wbardwel/public/nfalist/us_v_rybar.txt) looks better than I could expect:

The activity that the Lopez Court found was not "economic"
or "connected with a commercial transaction" was a type of
intrastate firearm possession, i.e., the possession of a firearm
(including a machine gun) within a school zone. At issue here is
another type of purely intrastate firearm possession, i.e., the
purely intrastate possession of a machine gun. If the former
must be regarded as non-economic and non-commercial, why isn't
the same true of the latter? Is possession of a machine gun
inherently more "economic" or more "commercial" than possession
of other firearms? [Footnote 4] Is the possession of a firearm
within a school zone somehow less "economic" and "commercial"
than possession elsewhere--say, on one's own property? [Footnote
5] If there are distinctions of constitutional dimension here,
they are too subtle for me to grasp. It seems to me that the
most natural reading of Lopez is that the simple possession of a
firearm, without more, is not "economic" or "commercial" activity
in the same sense as the production of wheat in Wickard and that
therefore such possession cannot be regulated under the Wickard
theory.

That's good, but earlier in the same dissent, he said this:

Moreover, the statute challenged here would satisfy the demands
of the Commerce Clause if Congress simply added a jurisdictional
element--a common feature of federal laws in this field and one
that has not posed any noticeable problems for federal law
enforcement. In addition, as I explain below, 18 U.S.C. section
922(o) might be sustainable in its current form if Congress made
findings that the purely intrastate possession of machine guns
has a substantial effect on interstate commerce or if Congress or
the Executive assembled empirical evidence documenting such a
link.

Anyone remember what happened after the Lopez decision? In case you don't, here's what happened: Congress passed the federal Gun Free School Zones Act once again (see 922 (http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct-cgi/get-usc-cite/18/922) (q)) in 1996, this time with new language, doing just what Alito suggests above. The attached a jurisdictional element, and attached findings saying that possession of a gun near a school affects interstate commerce.

In other words, they used Lopez as a drafting guide. Now, let's see... where have I heard that phrase before (http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/03-1454.ZD.html)?

beerslurpy
January 12, 2006, 12:02 AM
I suspect Alito was avoiding fighting battles he couldnt win. He basically took lopez and tried to run with it as far as he could but no further. No further because Lopez and Morrison were considered revolutionary in that they were the first cases in nearly 60 years to partly reverse Wickard, which was otherwise the controlling precedent in Commerce Clause cases.

I think Alito recognized that the supremes were still some ways from overturning wickard in any significant way and simply wanted to test the redrawn bounds of the Commerce Clause. 922(o) would have been an easy case from a legal standpoint and not really a big deal from a political standpoint. It wouldnt have really affected a ton of people, unlike declaring social security, the controlled substances act or the FDA unconstitutional.

He has been a judge for 15 years already, I am sure he is familar with the pace at which change takes place in constitutional jurisprudence. Building up a bunch of easy and seemingly uninmportant small victories is what it takes to perform turnarounds like Plessy > Brown. Unfortunately the next Commerce Clause case was about marijuana, so Scalia backtracked and all the leftists naturally lept at the chance to roll back the feeble lopez precedent.

publius
January 12, 2006, 09:37 AM
UNITED STATES of America,

v.

Raymond RYBAR, Jr., Appellant.

No. 95-3185.

United States Court of Appeals,Third Circuit.

Argued Sept. 13, 1995.

Decided Dec. 30, 1996.

Decided Dec. 30, 1996, by which time we had a brand new Gun Free School Zones Act, complete with Congressional findings. Alito is suggesting he would uphold the new law, meaning if we get a Lopez II, he'll vote with the left wing of the Court.

Guy B. Meredith
January 12, 2006, 02:10 PM
Who can Bush nominate? This editorial has the answer (not to hijack the thread).

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/01/12/EDGIAGLF1E1.DTL

In part:

"IF BY SOME bizarre twist of fate, the Senate fails to confirm Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have a suggestion for President Bush's next pick: Ted Kennedy. After all, if some Democrats can make a federal case out of Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton -- targeting his inclusion of that membership in a resume he submitted 20 years ago and his failure to remember being in the group -- then I'd like to see how they tackle Chappaquiddick.

(For you kids, the Massachusetts senator drove a car into the drink in Chappaquiddick in 1969. Kennedy swam away, passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, drowned. The accident was tragic. Kennedy's behavior afterward, however, was criminal. Rather than rushing to police after the 11:15 p.m. accident so that they could try to rescue Kopechne, Kennedy went back to his hotel. He did not call police until the next morning. Kennedy said he delayed because he panicked and was in shock. Many suspect that he spent those hours trying to construct an alibi. After an investigation probably less intense than the Democrats' vetting of Alito's resumes, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. A judge sentenced Kennedy to two months, suspended.) "

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