Alito’s Clerk A Federalist Society Member?

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Alito just hired one of his former clerks, Adam G. Ciongoli, to work with him at the SCOTUS. As the NY Times points out, Ciongoli was also the top aide to John Ashcroft when he was Attorney General. So what about the Federalist Society connection? Well, Ciongoli was a speaker at last year’s Federalist Society National Convention. That’s where I got the picture from. I don’t know if he’s a member, but Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia sure are. And I would imagine that if he’s not a member, he’s certainly a friend of the Society.

From the NY Times:

JUSTICE SAMUEL A. ALITO JR., who was so bland and self-effacing at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last month, made a bold decision on arriving at the court. He hired Adam G. Ciongoli, a former top aide to Attorney General John Ashcroft and an architect of the Bush administration’s legal strategy after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to be one of his law clerks.

[…]

“We don’t normally contemplate a high-level Justice Department official becoming a Supreme Court clerk,” said Ronald D. Rotunda, a specialist in legal ethics at George Mason University School of Law. “It’s just asking for problems that are unnecessary.” Most Supreme Court law clerks, who prepare memorandums and draft decisions for the justices, have little of note on their résumés beyond superior grades at a top law school and a clerkship with a federal appeals court judge.

“They’re like legal Doogie Howsers â€â€? child prodigies of the law,” said David Lat, a former federal prosecutor whose blog “Underneath Their Robes” reports on the hiring of Supreme Court clerks. “Yet they’re influencing decisions that affect millions.”

Mr. Ciongoli, 37, represents a different model. He has a rich and public history in government and, most recently, as a senior lawyer at Time Warner.

“It really indicates a lapse in judgment,” Deborah L. Rhode, who teaches legal ethics at Stanford, said of Justice Alito’s decision. “I just don’t think it helps your reputation for nonpartisanship, particularly after such partisan confirmation hearings, to start out by hiring someone who is perceived to have an ideological agenda.”

Interesting. Will Alito maintain nonpartisanship on the high court?

My doubts are certainly still firmly in place.

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