A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Appeals judges testify for Alito as confirmation hearings wind down

[JURIST] Seven federal appellate judges who have worked with US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [official profile; JURIST news archive] testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Thursday on the fourth day of his confirmation hearings, saying that Alito would be an independent and ethical justice. Democrats on the Judiciary Committee opposed the testimony of the jurists, citing the judicial code of ethics that states “[a] judge shall not testify as a character witness.” Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) [official website] asked Alito if he will have to recuse himself from any case appealed to the Supreme Court if one of the seven judges that testified on his behalf were involved, and Alito avoided answering the question. In response, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee distributed a fact sheet referring to previous confirmation hearings where judges testified, including the hearings for Justice Clarence Thomas, former Chief Justices William Rehnquist and Warren Burger, and failed Reagan nominee Robert Bork. Senior Judge Edward R. Becker [official profile] stated that the judges have a unique perspective on Judge Alito as colleagues on the same bench. The seven described Alito as a “highly ethical jurist who never has made decisions based on any political ideology.” Senior Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert [official profile] stated that “[j]udicial independence is simply incompatible with political loyalties, and Judge Alito’s judicial record on our court bears witness to this fundamental truth.” The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up Alito's own portion of the confirmation hearings [JURIST report] earlier Thursday. Final witnesses called by both Republicans and Democrats will appear Friday. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.