In his remarks accepting President Bush's nomination to the Supreme Court, Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., thanked various people for their love and support over the years. One of those people was his younger sister, Rosemary Alito, whom Judge Alito described as "a great friend and an inspiration as a great lawyer, and as a strong and independent person."
A "strong and independent," high-powered female lawyer? The type of woman who, if she were a judge, would be a judicial diva? Rosemary Alito definitely piqued Article III Groupie's interest. Having already reported on the Alito children, A3G decided to conduct a little investigation into the Supreme Court nominee's little sis; here's what she learned.
Rosemary Alito is New Jersey's leading labor law litigatrix. (Less colorful accounts describe her as "well-regarded," "highly accomplished," and one of New Jersey's "top employment lawyers.") She's a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham, working out of the firm's office in Newark, New Jersey. Prior to being scooped up by K&L in a talent raid, she was a partner for many years at McCarter & English, one of the state's largest firms.
As noted in her firm bio on the K&L website, Rosemary Alito was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, and she received the Trial Bar Award from the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey in 1999. She's the author of the treatise New Jersey Employment Law, as well as numerous articles. WOW -- clearly legal genius runs in this family! (Interestingly enough, insofar as Judge Alito focused on appellate litigation during his pre-robescent legal career, judicial sis Rosemary is probably a better trial lawyer than her big brother.)
Rosemary Alito is also "incredibly well-connected" in New Jersey legal circles. Rumor has it that "she was considered for the position of U.S. Attorney by Bush II, which ultimately went to Christopher Christie." UTR's source reports that "[t]here were two stumbling blocks for her getting the job: (1) her lack of criminal law experience (although that was true of Christie as well), and (2) her dating one of the state's top criminal defense lawyers, Michael Critchley (not sure if they're still an item)."
Let's close this post with a delicious celebrity sighting of both Alito siblings. A UTR reader reports that Judge Alito and his sister, while both brilliant and tremendously accomplished, have somewhat different personalities. Judge Alito, who tends toward the formal side, appears to excel in more structured social settings; Rosemary Alito, in contrast, is better one-on-one.*
Here's the judicial sight-ation:
Hi A3G. I'm a New Jersey lawyer and a devotee of your wonderful blog. I just wanted to write to you about my judicial sightation of Judge Samuel Alito and his very impressive sister, Rosemary Alito.
I saw Judge Alito and his sister at a Federal Bar Association (FBA) event for new lawyers about two years ago. Judge Alito was one of the speakers, and his sister Rosemary was presiding over the meeting; she was President of the FBA (and may still be, I'm not sure).
Before the formal event started, there was a cocktail hour. There was a real contrast during this period between Judge Alito and his sister. Judge Alito seemed a bit awkward, and he seemed to have a hard time moving from one conversational circle to the other, which is a critical skill for cocktail parties. I chatted with him briefly -- I had a friend who had clerked for him -- and our conversation, while very pleasant, ended a little abruptly.
Rosemary Alito, on the other hand, was a cocktail party natural, circulating throughout the room smoothly and gracefully. She's a striking woman, tall and attractive, and she was strikingly dressed, in a rather daring leopard-print skirt. Rosemary Alito is clearly an expert at "working it"; she knows how to charm and disarm the most powerful men. She would approach various giants of the New Jersey bar, in a casual and friendly fashion, exchanging cheek-kisses and touching some of them lightly on the forearm. When one of them would tell a joke, she would throw back her magnificent mane of dark hair, and let out peals of full-bodied laughter. One could learn a lot from her!
Once the more formal proceedings started, Judge Alito came into his own. Rosemary Alito gave introductory remarks, and while she did an excellent job in presiding over the meeting, her performance wasn't as awe-inspiring as it was during the cocktail party.
Judge Alito, however, was a fantastic speaker. He was giving a speech on tips and pitfalls in appellate advocacy -- a pretty boring topic. But he was actually hilarious! I can't remember any of his specific remarks (it was two years ago), but he had lots of funny (yet good-natured) anecdotes about bone-headed things lawyers had done. The audience was eating out of his hand!
Here in the Garden State, we're thrilled that one of our own has been nominated to the Supreme Court. Most New Jersey lawyers are more liberal than Judge Alito, but he has a great reputation in our legal community for his brilliance, his kindness, and his integrity. We're pulling for him!
Wonderful! A3G thanks her reader for this detailed report. And she hopes that, as we saw in the case of John G. Roberts, Jr., people of good will on both sides of the aisle can come together behind a nominee who is indisputably bright and fair. In terms of a SCOTUS nominee from a Republican president, liberals could do a lot worse than Judge Samuel Alito.
* This is consistent with what Professor Eric Muller, who worked with Judge Alito in the U.S. Attorney's Office, recently observed: Sam Alito is "a bit shy and a touch awkward" in "small-ish interpersonal settings," but "remarkably at ease and exceedingly funny" when speaking to a larger group."