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Archive for November 21st, 2005

Alito-10 for 12 Before SCOTUS

Not surprisingly, the Times is reporting the fact that as an attorney who argued twelve cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, Samuel A. Alito was victorious ten times. In two of the cases he was "pinch hitting."

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush’s nominee for the court, argued 12 cases there, losing 2. He was fully prepared for 11 of them. In his most important and hardest argument, though, he was pinch-hitting on two days’ notice.

The reviews of that argument, in 1984, were nonetheless excellent. "Disputes over the First Amendment are so important, and so often botched, that it’s always a relief to hear one argued well," Jim Mann wrote in The American Lawyer. "Alito handled himself particularly well under questioning from the court."

Judge Alito, then a relatively junior government lawyer, was filling in for Paul M. Bator, a deputy solicitor general who was a renowned constitutional scholar and a masterly oral advocate, after a death in Mr. Bator’s family.

"This guy Sam Alito, who I’d never heard of, stepped in just before the argument," said the lawyer on the other side, Fredric D. Woocher. "He did a wonderful job, even though he lost."

The reason I say that it is not surprising is that the Times does post "fig leaf" stories while they butcher the issue on the opinion page and in other stories. Can you imagine the meltdown if they ever dug up Alito saying something like this?

“You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”

I didn’t think so.

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