Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Happy Birthday, Justice Alito! No, Samuel Alito doesn't turn ten today (he'll turn 66 this April Fool's day, however). Instead, this week saw Justice Alito celebrating his tenth anniversary as a Supreme Court justice.
To celebrate, we're pulling together our favorite Alito-related posts. For while Justice Alito often gets overlooked -- he doesn't have the acid bite of conservative colleague Justice Scalia, nor does he require the same fawning attention as Justice Kennedy, and he lacks some of the swag of the Notorious R.B.G. -- his role on the court is more important than many recognize.
Alito's Best Moves
Without Justice Alito, we may never have had the word "unrecusal." In two 2014 cases, the justice first took himself off three cases due to conflicts with his stock portfolio. But rather than sit out the important cases, Justice Alito later sold his stocks and unrecused himself, just days before oral arguments.
As staid as Justice Alito often is, we can't forget the time he shocking, brazenly, and disgustingly disrupted President Obama's State of the Union address -- by shaking his head. While the Supreme Court justices are expected to sit (or sleep) idly during the address, Justice Alito had the temerity to lightly shake his head "no" as the President described the Court's Citizens United decision as "not true." Justice Alito hasn't attended the State of the Union since.
Alito's Best Dissents
Justice Alito reminded us of his conservative chops when he took SDNY Judge Harold Baer, Jr., to task for questionable requirements that class counsel "reflect the class composition in terms of relevant race and gender metrics." Sure, the Court didn't end up granting cert, but Justice Alito's point was made.
When that Benedict Arnold, Chief Justice Roberts, abandoned the conservative "better dead than covered by Obamacare insurance" battle cry, Alito was there to call him out. Well, sort of. Instead of cutting down the Chief Justice personally, Justices Alito and Thomas let Justice Scalia do the work, joining his biting dissent and letting the hard right know which Supreme Court jurists were really on their side.
Here's Alito the Clarifier. While the majority struck down a conviction for Facebook threats, it did so largely by saying what the test for criminal threats was not. Justice Alito agreed, in part, but criticized his colleagues for not clearly explaining just what the test should be.
Want to live like Justice Alito? Find a buddy and hit the road. His buddy is Justice Roberts. The two voted together in 96 percent of cases in 2011. And his vacation spot is Europe, where he and many other justices go to teach for the summer.
Want to get your case to the Supreme Court? There's a whole long, convoluted, and extremely difficult procedure for that. And most justices put their clerks in charge of it. Except Justice Alito, who's the only Supreme Court justice to sit out the Court's clerk-run cert pool.
Which Supreme Court justice is afraid that gays will seek revenge for his votes against marriage equality? If you guessed Justice Alito, you're right (and pretty good at context clues). His fears might be overblown, however. Though it's less than a year since the Court recognized a right to same-sex marriage, we still haven't seen any signs of the gay inquisition Justice Alito worried would follow.