- The Washington Times - Monday, October 31, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The following are excerpts of remarks by President Bush and Samuel A. Alito Jr., a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, at the White House on Judge Alito’s nomination yesterday to the Supreme Court:

Mr. Bush: 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 … [to] justice, 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. …

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. …

In 1990, President [George] 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: I argued my first case before the Supreme Court in 1982, and I still vividly recall that day. … And I also remember the relief that I felt when Justice [Sandra] 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 her seat.

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 institution 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.” …

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.

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