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November 27, 2005
The Next Alito Smear: Racist, Sexist By Association

In the next phase of the effort to derail any nominee promulgated by the Bush administration to the Supreme Court, various leftist groups have seized on one entry on a 1985 rsum submitted for an opening in the Reagan administration by Samuel Alito. The New York Times reports on the twisted logic of PFAW in using this entry to paint Alito as a racist and a sexist for the actions of a Princeton alumni group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton:

The group's members at the time included Samuel A. Alito Jr., now President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, although there is no evidence that he played an active or prominent role.

The group had been founded in 1972, the year that Judge Alito graduated, by alumni upset that Princeton had recently begun admitting women. It published a magazine, Prospect, which persistently accused the administration of taking a permissive approach to student life, of promoting birth control and paying for abortions, and of diluting the explicitly Christian character of the school.

As Princeton admitted a growing number of minority students, Concerned Alumni charged repeatedly that the administration was lowering admission standards, undermining the university's distinctive traditions and admitting too few children of alumni. "Currently alumni children comprise 14 percent of each entering class, compared with an 11 percent quota for blacks and Hispanics," the group wrote in a 1985 fund-raising letter sent to all Princeton graduates.

By the mid-1980's, however, Princeton students and recent alumni were increasingly finding such statements anachronistic or worse.

The Times found that Alito played no leadership role, provided no funding, and in general only allowed his name to continue to exist on their rolls until the group went defunct two years after that rather stupid letter went out to its membership. He listed the membership on a rsum as an example of a conservative group that reflected his politics at the time, but the NYT doesn't explain whether that was before or after the letter went out that year, or whether Alito had even bothered reading missives from CAP.

It's clear that Alito doesn't like quotas, the reason CAP formed in 1972, nor did he like the liberalization impulse on his college campus. It's also clear that his level of outrage over these issues must have remained pretty darned small if all he did was engage in a membership. Even his friends within CAP can hardly recall his membership or any effort on his part to support the organization.

Nor does the opening paragraphs of this article tell readers about the breadth of the conservative issues that CAP addressed. Agree with them or not, CAP took on many issues with the Princeton administration, including abortion counseling, the right of free assembly, and defending private "eating clubs", to which Alito had never belonged anyway. As Dinesh D'Souza, who edited CAP's newsletter at one time, tells the NYT, Alito's membership might mean something, but it would be difficult to say what.

The last time I checked, Ruth Bader Ginsburg made her career as a general counsel for the ACLU, a group which has defended neo-Nazis in court in First Amendment cases. Did that make her a neo-Nazi? Of course not, and she may not have even supported their efforts to defend supremacists. (Some members have resigned in protest over the years when the issue arises.)

Perhaps the people at PFAW should concentrate more on Alito's extensive track record on the bench than the alumni group he joined but hardly supported in his youth. It would appear that they have not had any luck finding issues on which to deny him confirmation from his excellent work as a jurist, and instead have settled on hysteria to derail his nomination.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 27, 2005 7:47 AM

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