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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

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Princeton alumnus nominated to Supreme Court

Princeton alumnus Samuel Alito Jr. has been nominated by President Bush to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alito earned an A.B. in 1972 from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Since 1990, he has been a judge for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia.

A native of Trenton, N.J., Alito earned his law degree in 1975 from Yale Law School, where he was editor of the law journal. He served as assistant to the U.S. solicitor general from 1981 to 1985, arguing 12 cases before the Supreme Court. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration from 1985 to 1987.

From 1987 to 1989, he served as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, the top prosecutor in one of the nation's largest federal districts.

"Sam was probably the most judicious student I ever had," said Walter Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus. "He had (and still has) a keen intelligence and a fine sense of justice. When he voiced a judgment, he typically began by fairly stating the arguments on either side then offering his own conclusion, with a clear explanation of his reasoning. One might disagree with him but always respect his reasoning and intellectual integrity."

"He has been a fine judge, a person of deep integrity as well as intelligence," Murphy added.

If confirmed by the Senate, Alito would be the ninth Princetonian to serve on the Supreme Court. Other Princeton graduates who have served on the court and the dates of their service are:

  • William Paterson, a member of the class of 1763, from 1793 to 1806.
  • Oliver Ellsworth, a member of the class of 1766, from 1796 to 1800 (served as chief justice).
  • William Johnson Jr., a member of the class of 1790, from 1804 to 1834.
  • (Henry) Brockholst Livingston, a member of the class of 1774, from 1806 to 1823.
  • Smith Thompson, a member of the class of 1788, from 1823 to 1843.
  • James Moore Wayne, a member of the class of 1808, from 1835 to 1867.
  • Mahlon Pitney, a member of the class of 1879, from 1912 to 1922.
  • John Marshall Harlan, a member of the class of 1920, from 1955 to 1971.

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