This is perhaps one of the best pieces I’ve read on how Alito came up through the ranks. Sure, the Post is obsessed with appellation (Reagan’s policies weren’t just policies but conservative policies), but the Post is also familiar enough with the give and take of luck and preparation so characteristic of political grooming that it doesn’t immediately attribute Alito’s rise to some cabal of conservative conspirators. It also puts to rest some talking points of the left.
Whereas some people are likely to talk about his role in dismantling affirmative action, the Post evenhandedly provides evidence that Alito was no racist:
While he opposed numeric hiring quotas, he took steps to diversify an office that had a reputation as something of a “white boys’ club.” Alberto Rivas, a criminal defense lawyer and a Democrat, said that when Alito hired him, he was the only Latino lawyer in the office. By the time Alito left, Rivas said, there were four, as well as more blacks.
Whereas people will point to his touting of his conservative credentials, the Post points out that he’s far more even-handed.
Even as his job grew increasingly political, to those beneath him, Alito remained above politics. He was cautious, thorough and logical. There was no aura of fervency about him, and career lawyers saw him as the epitome of what an Office of Legal Counsel lawyer should be — someone who considered the law and rendered an opinion, whether the administration liked it or not.
And is he going to be a problem to confirm like Bork?
“He’s a Borklette, a Bork without the edge,” said Bruce Fein, who was associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department. “I see a judge who reads the statutes as written and interprets the Constitution using its original meaning, instead of assuming the role of platonic guardian and ordaining a society he thinks is enlightened.”
Solid reporting, it would seem.