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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to Senate Judiciary Members on Alito Nomination

Senate Judiciary Committee
US Senate
Washington DC 20515

Dear Senators,

As a long time observer of how Supreme Court nominees evade questions, I have two suggestions to make at the outset of the hearings. That Judge Samuel Alito be asked two questions:

1. Judge Alito, would you tell the Committee what is the criteria you are adopting to determine when you will choose not to answer certain questions put to you either orally or in written form?
2. Sitting Supreme Court Justices often have made public speeches, written articles, taught law school classes and, in the case of Justices Scalia and Breyer, have even debated publicly at the law school of American University. Justices have expressed opinions and made comments about a variety of controversial legal issues. In so doing, they have not concluded that these public expressions, sometimes followed by questions from the audience, compelled them either to recuse themselves in cases before them or to consider themselves prejudging these matters pending or likely to come to the Court in the future.

What is your opinion of these speaking, writing and teaching practices in this context?

On another point, it would be most helpful to further the purpose of the hearing and the public educational function such a hearing affords millions of Americans to spend some time questioning Judge Alito on corporate subjects and issues. Toward that end I am enclosing questions suggested for Judge John Roberts for your perusal, many of which are relevant for the hearing on Judge Samuel Alito. In the past there has been a pronounced dearth of questioning or testimony on matters corporate which include many important constitutional, statutory and regulatory matters for judicial resolution. I am also enclosing a recent letter sent to Justice Scalia about the Santa Clara case.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader