It’s looking more and more like at least one Democrat will find it hard to oppose the nomination of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.), whom I wrote about earlier this morning, aggressively backed Alito for the U.S. attorney job he was nominated to by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. This marks two posts–U.S. attorney and federal appeals judge–where Alito had Lautenberg’s support.
Also weighing in for Alito was future Democrat presidential candidate Bill Bradley, who was a senator from New Jersey at the time. I’ve posted both of their statements from the Congressional Record below.
THE CONFIRMATION OF SAMUEL A. ALITO, JR., AS UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I rise in support of the nomination of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to serve as the U.S. attorney for the district of New Jersey.
Mr. Alito has been serving as U.S. attorney since March, having received interim appointments by the Attorney General and the court. He has brought to the position a distinguished academic and professional record. Mr. Alito graduated from Yale Law School, where he served on the law journal. He then held a succession of positions in the public sector, including that of law clerk to Judge Garth, on the third circuit; assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey; assistant to the solicitor general; and deputy assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel.
Any prosecutor, given finite resources, must exercise discretion and set priorities in the enforcement of the law. Where a U.S. attorney intends to allocate those resources can be as important as the skill and qualifications that he applies to the job. Mr. Alito has set out priorities for his office that I believe respond to New Jersey’s most pressing Federal law enforcement needs.
New Jersey and its people bear the scars of years of environmental abuse. Unfortunately, the illegal disposal of garbage and toxic waste continues. The Congress has responded with the passage of comprehensive laws to protect the environment, backed by tough penalties for those who violate those laws. However, these laws have too often become a promise unfulfilled by the failure of the executive branch to commit itself to vigorous enforcement. I am pleased, therefore, that Mr. Alito has set out to increase the resources in his office dedicated to criminal and civil environmental law. The creation of a new environmental crime unit will, I hope, help bring more polluters to justice and deter those who would consider degrading the environment and threatening the public’s health.
So long as illegal drugs plague our society, the prosecution of narcotics offenses must remain a high priority of our Federal law enforcement. The Congress passed comprehensive drug enforcement legislation last year and increased the budgetary resources allocated to drug enforcement. Mr. Alito has pledged to continue to place a high priority on narcotics law enforcement.
Mr. President, New Jerseyans also want to see a high priority placed on organized crime and white-collar crime prosecutions. Mr. Alito has reported an increase in the resources assigned to organized crime prosecutions, and has expressed a personal interest in investigations in the areas of securities fraud, defense contracting fraud, and bankruptcy fraud.
New Jersey has also made significant, welcome progress over the years, in addressing instances of official misconduct. Mr. Alito has appointed a new supervisor of special prosecutions and has taken a personal interest in this area.
While Mr. Alito has set forth priorities that respond to New Jersey’s needs in the war on crime, he must also enter the battle with the necessary troops. Mr. Alito’s predecessor sounded the alarm that New Jersey was being short-changed in the allocation of resources by the Department of Justice. I raised this matter with the Attorney General, in hearings and in correspondence. Thereafter, 2 of 40 new assistant prosecutors nationwide were assigned to the New Jersey district. These reinforcements were welcome. Yet, as Mr. Alito reports that "all attorneys are working long hours and weekends," it is clear that the matter of the staffing of the New Jersey office warrants continuing oversight.
The district of New Jersey is the third largest district in the Nation in terms of population. Its law enforcement agenda is a far-reaching one. It extends to the corporate suites, where complex, white-collar crime undermines the stability of our economic system; it goes down to the street, where the terror of drug-related crimes has overtaken whole neighborhoods; it reaches out to sea or along dark roads where midnight dumpers and polluters threaten our health and the environment in which we live.
Mr. Alito brings impressive credentials to the task. I support his confirmation and wish him well.
I ask unanimous consent that Mr. Alito’s written responses to questions about the U.S. attorney’s office and Federal law enforcement in New Jersey be printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
And finally, here’s what Bradley had to say. Not nearly as strong, but still significant given his prominence in the Democratic Party.
CONFIRMATION OF SAMUEL ALITO TO BE U.S. ATTORNEY FOR NEW JERSEY
Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. President, the confirmation of Sam Alito as U.S. attorney for New Jersey is testimony to the commitment he has shown and the success of his efforts as a law enforcement official. I am confident that he will continue to do all he can to uphold the laws of this Nation with the kind of determination and vigor that has been his trademark in the past.