January 11, 2006
Alito Clerks Support the Judge Unanimously
Over the course of a 15-year career on the bench, Judge Alito now has a group of 54 former clerks. Remarkably, this group has come out unanimously supporting the judge.
I’m on Capitol Hill today reporting on the hearings and I’ve just met three of the judge’s former clerks, all sporting jaunty red “Former Alito Clerk” buttons.
From left to right: David Moore, now a law professor at the University of Kentucky; Jeffrey Wasserstein and Keith Levenberg, both now in private practice.
All three agreed that they did not recognize the caricature being presented of Judge Alito as a political ideologue. Jeffrey, in particular, spoke fervently about the judge’s lack of political bias. He told the story that the professor who recommended him to the judge for his clerkship told Alito: “By the way, Jeff’s a flaming liberal.”
Alito’s response? “So what?”
I consider myself a fairly liberal Democrat — but we came out at the same place 95% of the time. Where we disagreed, it was probably because he’s a lot smarter. I did not see the ideologue — [Judge Alito] is an incredibly fair person.
Jeff described a process of decision-making that Alito uses that is exactly like what the judge recounted to the Senators — he reviews all the facts and precedents that are relevant before making up his mind.
Keith responded that, while Alito certainly participated in casual lunches and conversations outside his chambers, that the judge took the judicial process very seriously. Recalling the story that Ronald Reagan did not take his jacket off in the Oval Office, Keith said that Alito “thought it was inappropriate to bring politics into the judicial chambers.” They all agreed that they had seen “an approach to juding that was apolitical.”
They also said, “unfortunately, you got the three white guys” among the Former Alito Clerks. They wanted to emphasize that Alito had many female clerks — including several from Princeton (which counters the claim that his CAP membership indicates an antithesis to women at Princeton) and many minorities.
Lastly, the picture they painted of the judge was one of a really nice person. David told the story of a young clerk becoming seriously ill in chambers . . . and Judge Alito held the trashcan while he threw up!
Cross-posted at FRCBlog.com.