The Nomination of Samuel Alito to the United State Supreme Court
October 31, 2005
Good morning. I'm pleased to announce my nomination of
Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr., as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of
the United States. Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and
respected judges in America, and his long career in public service has
given him an extraordinary breadth of experience.
As a Justice Department official, federal prosecutor and judge on the
United States Court of Appeals, Sam Alito has shown a mastery of the law, a
deep commitment of justice, and a -- and he is a man of enormous character.
He's scholarly, fair-minded and principled, and these qualities will serve
our nation well on the highest court of the land.
Judge Alito showed great promise from the beginning in studies at Princeton
and Yale Law School; as editor of the Yale Law Journal; as a clerk for a
federal court of appeals judge. He served in the Army Reserves and was
honorably discharged as a captain. Early in his career, Sam Alito worked
as a federal prosecutor and handled criminal and civil matters for the
United States. As assistant to the solicitor general, he argued 12 cases
before the Supreme Court, and has argued dozens of others before the
federal courts of appeals.
He served in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel providing
constitutional advice for the President and the executive branch. In 1987,
President Ronald Reagan named him the United States Attorney for the
District of New Jersey, the top prosecutor in one of the nation's largest
federal districts, and he was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate.
He moved aggressively against white-collar and environmental crimes, and
drug trafficking, and organized crime, and violation of civil rights.
In his role, Sam Alito showed a passionate commitment to the rule of law,
and he gained a reputation for being both tough and fair. In 1990,
President Bush nominated Sam Alito, at the age of 39, for the United States
Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. Judge Alito's nomination received
bipartisan support and he was again confirmed by unanimous consent by the
United States Senate. Judge Alito has served with distinction on that court
for 15 years and now has more prior judicial experience than any Supreme
Court nominee in more than 70 years.
Judge Alito's reputation has only grown over the span of his service. He
has participated in thousands of appeals and authored hundreds of opinions.
This record reveals a thoughtful judge who considers the legal matter --
merits carefully and applies the law in a principled fashion. He has a
deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He
understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their
preferences or priorities on the people.
In the performance of his duties, Judge Alito has gained the respect of his
colleagues and attorneys for his brilliance and decency. He's won admirers
across the political spectrum. I'm confident that the United States Senate
will be impressed by Judge Alito's distinguished record, his measured
judicial temperament, and his tremendous personal integrity. And I urge
the Senate to act promptly on this important nomination so that an up or
down vote is held before the end of this year.
Today, Judge Alito is joined by his wife, Martha, who was a law librarian
when he first met her. Sam and I both know you can't go wrong marrying a
librarian. Sam and Martha's two children, Phil and Laura, are also with
us, and I know how proud you are of your dad today. I'm sure, as well,
that Judge Alito is thinking of his mom, Rose, who will be 91 in December.
And I know he's thinking about his late father. Samuel Alito, Sr., came to
this country as an immigrant child from Italy in 1914, and his fine family
has realized the great promise of our country.
Judge, thanks for agreeing to serve, and congratulations on your
JUDGE ALITO: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much, Mr.
President. I am deeply honored to be nominated to serve on the Supreme
Court, and I am very grateful for the confidence that you have shown in me.
The Supreme Court is an institution that I have long held in reverence.
During my 29 years as a public servant, I've had the opportunity to view
the Supreme Court from a variety of perspectives -- as an attorney in the
Solicitor General's Office, arguing and briefing cases before the Supreme
Court, as a federal prosecutor, and most recently for the last 15 years as
a judge of the Court of Appeals. During all of that time, my appreciation
of the vital role that the Supreme Court plays in our constitutional system
has greatly deepened.
I argued my first case before the Supreme Court in 1982, and I still
vividly recall that day. I remember the sense of awe that I felt when I
stepped up to the lectern. And I also remember the relief that I felt when
Justice O'Connor -- sensing, I think, that I was a rookie -- made sure that
the first question that I was asked was a kind one. I was grateful to her
on that happy occasion, and I am particularly honored to be nominated for
My most recent visit to the Supreme Court building was on a very different
and a very sad occasion: It was on the occasion of the funeral of Chief
Justice William Rehnquist. And as I approached the Supreme Court building
with a group of other federal judges, I was struck by the same sense of awe
that I had felt back in 1982, not because of the imposing and beautiful
building in which the Supreme Court is housed, but because of what the
building, and, more importantly, the institutions stand for -- our
dedication as a free and open society to liberty and opportunity, and, as
it says above the entrance to the Supreme Court, "equal justice under law."
Every time that I have entered the courtroom during the past 15 years, I
have been mindful of the solemn responsibility that goes with service as a
federal judge. Federal judges have the duty to interpret the Constitution
and the laws faithfully and fairly, to protect the constitutional rights of
all Americans, and to do these things with care and with restraint, always
keeping in mind the limited role that the courts play in our constitutional
system. And I pledge that if confirmed I will do everything within my
power to fulfill that responsibility.
I owe a great deal to many people who have taught me over the years about
the law and about judging, to judges before whom I have appeared, and to
colleagues who have shown me with their examples what it means to be a fair
and conscientious and temperate judge.
I also owe a great deal, of course, to the members of my family. I wish
that my father had lived to see this day. He was an extraordinary man who
came to the United States as a young child, and overcame many difficulties
and made many sacrifices so that my sister and I would have opportunities
that he did not enjoy.
As the President mentioned, my mother will be celebrating her 91st birthday
next month. She was a pioneering and very dedicated public school teacher
who inspired my sister and me with a love of learning. My wife, Martha,
has been a constant source of love and support for the past 20 years. My
children, Philip and Laura, are the pride of my life and they have made
sure that being a judge has never gone to my head -- they do that very well
on a, pretty much, daily basis. And my sister, Rosemary, has always been a
great friend and an inspiration as a great lawyer, and as a strong and
I look forward to working with the Senate in the confirmation process. Mr.
President, thank you, once again, for the confidence that you've shown in
me and for honoring me with this nomination.
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