Judiciary

Lautenberg Flip-Flops on Support for Alito

As HUMAN EVENTS reported earlier today, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.) was one of Sam Alito’s most vocal supporters 15 years ago when he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush for a federal appeals judgeship.

But a mere two hours after I reported Lautenberg’s comments from 1990, the senator issued a statement moments ago saying, “Judge Alito has demonstrated a hostility to fundamental civil rights, and his record on the bench must be closely scrutinized by the Senate.”

Based on that statement alone, it appears Lautenberg, who 15 years ago called Alito “impartial, thoughtful and fair,” will now oppose him for the Supreme Court.

Here’s Lautenberg’s statement, released moments ago:

“Fifteen years ago, I supported Samuel Alito to be a judge based on his record as the United States Attorney for New Jersey, but his tenure on the appeals court has been marked by troubling decisions. Judge Alito has demonstrated a hostility to fundamental civil rights, and his record on the bench must be closely scrutinized by the Senate.

“New Jersey has a proud tradition of producing great judges, most notably former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan. Justice Brennan was chosen for the Supreme Court based on his legal knowledge and wisdom, unlike what we see today, in which nominees are chosen based on litmus tests that cater to narrow ideological groups.”


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