Here’s a look at the life of US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Birth date: April 1, 1950
Birth place: Trenton, New Jersey
Birth name: Samuel Anthony Alito Jr.
Father: Samuel Alito, a teacher
Mother: Rose (Fradusco) Alito, a teacher
Marriage: Martha-Ann (Bomgardner) Alito (1985-present)
Children: Philip and Laura
Education: Princeton University, A.B., 1972; Yale University, J.D., 1975
Nicknamed “Scalito” as his views resemble those of the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court, the first in 1982.
1976-1977 - Law clerk to Leonard I. Garth, judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
1977-1981 - Assistant US Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
1981-1985 - Assistant to the US Solicitor General.
1985-1987 - Deputy Assistant to the US Attorney General.
1987-1990 - Named by President Ronald Reagan as the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
February 20, 1990 - Nominated by President George H. W. Bush to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
April 27, 1990 - Confirmed unanimously by the Senate on a voice vote.
April 30, 1990-2006 - Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Newark, New Jersey.
1993 - Agrees with the majority that an Iranian woman seeking asylum could establish eligibility by showing that she has an abhorrence with her country’s “gender specific laws and repressive social norms,” or because of a belief in feminism or membership in a feminist group.
1999 - Writes the opinion in a case that says a Christmas display on city property does not violate separation of church and state doctrines because it included a large plastic Santa Claus as well as a Menorah and a banner hailing diversity.
2001 - Agrees with the majority that strikes down a public school district’s anti-harassment policy, saying the policy - which included non-vulgar, non-school-sponsored speech - violated the First Amendment.
January 31, 2006 - Alito is confirmed as an associate justice to the Supreme Court. The US Senate votes 58-42. He is immediately sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
February 1, 2006 - Sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice a second time in a ceremony at the White House.
May 29, 2007 - In a 5-4 ruling, the court dismisses a pay discrimination lawsuit, with Alito writing for the majority. The original suit was filed by a female worker, Lilly Ledbetter against her employer, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. She claimed that she was underpaid due to gender discrimination. In the opinion, Alito writes that Ledbetter filed the claim after the federally-mandated 180-day time window, concluding that the “filing deadline protects employers from the burden of defending claims arising from employment decisions long past.”
January 28, 2010 - During a State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, Alito is seen mouthing the words “not true” in response to the president’s criticism of the court’s 5-4 ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which removed long-established legal limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions.
March 2, 2011 - Alito is the sole dissenter in the free speech case involving Westboro Baptist Church. In an 8-1 decision, the court rules that the First Amendment allows the church to carry out anti-gay protests, even at military funerals. Westboro had been sued by the family of a fallen Marine whose funeral was disrupted by church protesters. In his dissent, Alito writes, “Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case.”
June 25, 2013 - Writes the majority opinion in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl where the question is can an unwed non-custodial parent block an adoption using the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The court ruled, 5-4, in favor of the adoptive parents ruling that the ICWA did not apply when the parent had never had physical or legal custody of the child.
June 30, 2014 - Writes the majority opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, with the court ruling 5-4 that family-owned corporations can be exempt from a federal mandate requiring the inclusion of contraception coverage in employee health plans based on religious objections.
June 27, 2018 - The court issues a 5-4 ruling striking down an Illinois law requiring non-union public sector workers to pay fees for collective bargaining. The opinion, written by Alito, reads, “It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely.”
February 1, 2019 - Alito temporarily blocks a Louisiana abortion law from going into effect, filing an order that says the justices need more time to review the filings in the case against a measure restricting access to clinics.
November 25, 2019 - Writes the sole dissent in the court’s denial of National Review’s defamation suit petition. Climate scientist Michael Mann sued the conservative magazine in 2012 after two columnists wrote about his work and the “Hockey Stick” curve graph illustrating the rise in average global temperatures, accusing him of “misconduct” and data “manipulation.” Alito writes that the case brings up First Amendment concerns “that go to the very heart of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of the press: the protection afforded to journalists and others who use harsh language in criticizing opposing advocacy on one of the most important public issues of the day. If the Court is serious about protecting freedom of expression, we should grant review.”