Samuel A. Alito, Jr. currently serves in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia which covers Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Third Circuit is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, although Judge Alito maintains his offices in Newark, New Jersey.
Alito was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1950. He attended Princeton University and obtained his B.A. in 1972. He then attended Yale Law School where he graduated in 1975.
Alito was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia by President George H.W. Bush on February 20, 1990 and confirmed by the United States Senate on April 27, 1990.
Alito's professional career has been primarily in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. He clerked under Judge Leonard I. Garth in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit from 1976 to 1977. He then served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1977-1981.
His career then took him to Washington D.C. from 1981 to 1987 where he served as Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General in the Department of Justice from 1981 to 1985 and as Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Department of Justice from 1985 to 1987.
In 1987, Alito returned to New Jersey as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey and served in that capacity until his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia by the current president's father.
Unlike Harriet Miers, Alito has an extensive "paper trail" which is likely to please President Geroge W. Bush's conservative base and spark heated debate in the U.S. Senate from moderate and liberal senators. Alito has been nicknamed "Scalito" based on his judicial philosophy which is closely alligned with that of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.
Sure to bring much discussion is Judge Alito's opinion in case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), dealing with a Pennsylvania law requiring spousal notification in instances where a woman seeks an abortion. Alito argued in favor of the Pennsylvania law. The Pennsylvania law was eventually struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, but in a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist supported and quoted Judge Alito's position.