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Senate Democrats plan to attack Alito credibility in confirmation hearings

[JURIST] Democrats on the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] have said they plan to call witnesses to question the integrity of US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [official profile; JURIST news archive] during confirmation hearings. The witness list includes experts on constitutional law and civil rights, but will also include John Flym, who argued a 2002 case before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit involving mutual fund managers with which Alito had accounts. Alito has been criticized for failing to recuse himself [JURIST report]; Alito was not required to recuse himself, but had promised to do so during his confirmation hearings as an appellate judge. Democrats also plan to call a journalist who had reported Alito's association with the now-defunct interest group Concerned Alumni of Princeton, that had criticized Princeton's affirmative action policies and encouraged more legacy admissions. Judiciary Committee member Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) [official website], called the group "anti-black" and "anti-women," but another member of the committee Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) [official website] said the witnesses show that Democrats are desperate for critical fodder. The New York Times has more.

In related news, over 500 law professors have signed a letter [PDF text] opposing Alito's nomination, arguing that Alito will slant the court to the right:

Analyses show that in close cases – the kinds of cases the Supreme Court reviews – Judge Alito consistently takes positions that devalue individual rights and protections. And despite the president’s pledge to nominate someone who embraces the principle of judicial restraint, Judge Alito often reaches his conclusions by overturning or weakening federal statutes, diminishing constitutional safeguards, and hollowing out precedent.
Read the Alliance for Justice press release.

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