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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Defenders of Wildlife

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Samuel Alito Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Background on Judge Samuel Alito and opposition to his nomination to the Supreme Court

Third Circuit Court Judge Samuel Alito confirmed to the Supreme Court

On Jan. 31, 2006, Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. was confirmed by a 58-42 vote to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Photo of Glenn Sugameli on Democracy Now TVWatch Senior Judicial Counsel Glenn Sugameli discuss Alito and the environment on "Democracy Now TV."

Excerpts from Editorials regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court (pdf)

On December 20, 2005, Earthjustice and four other national environmental groups announced formal opposition to the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court. This was the first time since the 1987 nomination of Robert Bork that Earthjustice -- or any national environmental group -- opposed a Supreme Court nominee.

Earthjustice did not make this decision lightly. Judge Alito has a 15-year record of judicial activism. His record shows that if confirmed to a lifetime appointment to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, he will spend the next several decades legislating from the bench, dismantling laws opposed by corporate special interests that protect the health and safety of families and communities.

Judge Alito joined in a 2-1 ruling that denied citizens' access to courts under the Clean Water Act, which authorizes "any citizen" to bring a civil enforcement action against alleged polluters. Judge Alito ruled that a citizen group did not have standing to sue because it had not demonstrated that serious harm to the environment had occurred, despite the fact that the trial court had imposed a rare $2.6 million fine for the company's violations of the Act. The Supreme Court has since rejected Alito's analysis.

Alito also wrote a dissent that would have unjustifiably restricted Congress' authority under the "Commerce Clause" (which is the basis for most federal environmental laws) when he claimed that the law prohibiting the possession of machine guns was unconstitutional. Conservative Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn denounced Judge Alito's opinion as "wrong," and called it "legislating" from the bench.

 Read more about Judge Alito's views on:

Photo of Mark Levy and Glenn Sugameli on the set of OnPointWatch Earthjustice's Senior Judicial Counsel Glenn Sugameli (right) and Mark Levy, attorney and longtime Alito friend, discuss Alito's record on the Commerce Clause, environmental groups' standing to bring lawsuits against polluters, and the political battles ahead during the confirmation process on "OnPoint."

Listen to Glenn Sugameli & Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Air America's "Ring of Fire" radio program discussing Judge Alito. (11/11/05)

Senators' statements citing environmental concerns as reasons to oppose the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito:

Statements of concern about Alito's record on the environment generally: