The political press is going through a Samuel Alito renaissance in the wake of last week’s high-profile Supreme Court decisions (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn), both of which were authored by the amiable associate justice.
“Samuel Alito’s moment,” proclaims Politico.
“Meet Samuel Alito, the Most Important Conservative in America Today,” runs the headline at National Journal.
Forget them. If you really want to understand Sam Alito — from his Phillies fandom, to his New Jersey roots, to his judicial philosophy of originalism with interpretation — read my colleague Matthew Walther’s recent cover story on the man, who sat for a multi-hour interview with The American Spectator. It begins this way:
Samuel Alito is wearing a numberless Philadelphia Phillies uniform, standing next to Phillies legend Richie Ashburn, the hittingest batter of the ’50s and a childhood hero of his. He looks happy.
“Back when I was on the Court of Appeals, when I was forty-three, my wife signed me up for Phillies Phantasy Camp,” he tells me. “I never would have done it, but it was a Christmas present.” Phantasy Camp is the aging baseball junkie’s nirvana. For a week, campers train with athletic professionals, drill with former players, square off against one another, and, on the last day, play a game—with real MLB rules—against Philly old timers. Alito, a Little League veteran who has coached his son’s baseball team, says he loved it. Before I can think of a tactful way to broach the subject, Alito begins telling me what it’s like to live with a bunch of white-collar middle-aged guys pretending to be professional athletes. “By the end of the week everybody had pulled their hamstrings,” he says. “The locker room smelled overwhelmingly of Bengay. Nobody could run. Everybody was hobbling.”