As a 15-year veteran of the federal bench, Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., has many former law clerks (some of whom may hope to win clerkships with him at One First Street if he's confirmed). A number of these clerks have been quoted in the mainstream media news stories about Supreme Court nominee Alito, and their comments collectively establish the following:
(1) Judge Alito, while generally conservative, is not particularly ideological or doctrinaire, choosing instead to approach each case on its own facts (much like Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.);
(2) consistent with this non-ideological bent, Judge Alito is non-ideological in his clerk hiring, having had a number of liberal law clerks over the years (many more than Justice Antonin Scalia, to whom he's often compared; Justice Scalia sometimes hires one liberal clerk per Term, the so-called "counter-clerk"); and
(3) Judge Alito's clerks love him, offering nothing but praise for his amazing intellect, kind demeanor, and unimpeachable personal integrity.
As it turns out, a number of Alito clerks are readers of UTR, and what they've shared with Article Three Groupie is consistent with the foregoing. One former Alito clerk, with fairly liberal leanings, wrote A3G as follows:
I'm thrilled about Judge Alito's nomination. As a former Alito clerk, I'm not exactly objective, but I have a sound basis for my opinion. No one has taught me more about the law than Judge Alito, and I've never met anyone with his level of brilliance and integrity.
I've also never met anyone who is such a talented and efficient writer. He'd disappear into his office for a bit, then emerge a short while later with a beautifully polished piece of writing for us to comment upon, cite check, etc. He's a great, great pick.
Another former Alito clerk offered these comments:
I've enjoyed reading your blog for a while, but your Alito coverage has been really outstanding! Of course, I'm not quite impartial -- I'm a former Alito clerk, in fact one of the Gang of Four that was responsible for mixing the original "Bold Justice Blend." Needless to say, my former co-clerks and I are all ecstatic about the President's pick.
I visited the Judge's chambers in Newark today, and of course had to make a pilgrimage to Ward's Coffee Shop on Broad Street. I thought you'd be interested to know that the lovely lady who mans the counter, Vera Barbosa, has become an overnight media sensation and is loving every minute of it. Apparently, in the last 24 hours, she's been interviewed by reporters from Time, People, CNN, NBC, and "The Sun" (maybe the British tabloid?). The media spotlight, combined with the hordes of trick-or-treaters (Ward's is famous for its penny candy selection) has made this perhaps the busiest and most eventful day in the shop's 132-year history. I have a feeling that UTR's Alito coffee coverage is to thank for this unexpected media frenzy....
Very few people can offer better insight into what a judge is like than his clerks -- which explains why clerks are some of A3G's best sources. And based on what his clerks have to say about him, Judge Alito deserves speedy confirmation to the SCOTUS, in a landslide vote.
(Update: Don't miss this very interesting interview of Katherine Pringle, a liberal (and gorgeous) former Alito clerk, by David Kravitz of Blue Mass. Group. Kravitz, by the way, is one of the "Super-Elect," having clerked for two Supreme Court justices: Justice Breyer and Justice O'Connor.)
Let's conclude this post with an excerpt from this very interesting New York Times profile of Judge Alito:
Whatever his fate in the nomination process, Judge Alito has already achieved an unusual kind of renown at the T. M. Ward coffee shop near the federal courthouse in Newark, where a popular blend is called "Bold Justice -- the Judge Alito blend."
The owner, Jeffrey Sommer, described the blend of Java, New Guinea and other coffees as "strong in the cup with some sweetness and a winey aftertaste." Mr. Sommer said the judge stops by for a cup most days, and sales "really took off" in recent months.
"Customers usually just say, 'Give me an Alito,' " Mr. Sommer said.
Give us an Alito -- Amen to that!!!