Eric Muller is a law professor at UNC Law School, and the author of the Is That Legal blog.
He worked with the man everybody is speculating will be the next SCOTUS nominee, and he has these thoughts to share with us.
Sam Alito was the U.S. Attorney who hired me into the Appeals Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey back in 1989. He was still there as U.S. Attorney when I started at the office in early 1990, but left a few months later to join the Third Circuit.
I had nowhere near the exposure to Alito that I had to his replacement, Michael Chertoff, but I had enough time to form an impression.
He is cerebral. He is very, very smart. In small-ish interpersonal settings he comes off as a bit shy and a touch awkward. (I say that this is so only in small-ish settings because I once saw him deliver a speech, at his farewell dinner, actually, and in that setting, speaking to a big crowd, he was remarkably at ease and exceedingly funny.) He seems younger than his years; there is a boyishness to him. Because his nature is reserved, I found him tough to read for politics. I knew, of course, that his conservative pedigree was impressive, but it was not something he wore on his sleeve.
Go over to Eric’s blog and read about the funny going away present they gave Alito. I got a kick out of it.