- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2005


The views that Judge Samuel A. Alito expressed on reapportionment in a 20-year-old document could jeopardize his Supreme Court nomination and provoke a filibuster, a leading Democratic senator said yesterday.

“I think he’s got a lot of explaining to do, and depending on how he does, I think will determine whether or not he has a problem or not,” said Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which plans confirmation hearings in early January.

In 1985, Judge Alito was applying to become deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration. In the document, first reported by The Washington Times, he said that while working as an assistant to the solicitor general, he helped “to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly.”

Mr. Biden said he was most troubled by Judge Alito’s comment about reapportionment cases under the Supreme Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren.

“The part that jeopardizes [the nomination] more is his quotes in there saying that he had strong disagreement with the Warren Court, particularly on reapportionment — one man, one vote,” Mr. Biden told “Fox News Sunday.”

“The fact that he questioned abortion and the idea of quotas is one thing. The fact that he questioned the idea of the legitimacy of the reapportionment decisions of the Warren Court is even something well beyond that,” Mr. Biden said.

In the document, Judge Alito wrote, “In college, I developed a deep interest in constitutional law, motivated in large part by disagreement with Warren Court decisions, particularly in the areas of criminal procedure, the Establishment Clause and reapportionment.”

Mr. Biden said the chances of a filibuster against Judge Alito had increased because of the claims in the document.

“If he really believes that reapportionment is a questionable decision — that is, the idea of Baker v. Carr, one man, one vote — then clearly, clearly, you’ll find a lot of people, including me, willing to do whatever they can to keep him off the court. … That would include a filibuster, if need be,” Mr. Biden said.

In the 1962 Baker v. Carr case, the Supreme Court ruled that legislative districting decisions can be challenged in federal court. In a string of subsequent cases, the justices have ruled that legislative districts of unequal size deny “equal protection of the laws” by effectively giving “more weight” to the votes of residents in the less-populous districts.

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