Monday, November 28, 2005
Alito's Extremist Affiliations
The White House portrays Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's views as in the "mainstream." That claim is not supported by his judicial opinions or his activities prior to being nominated. In his 1985 application for a high-level job the Reagan administration, Alito touted his membership with "the Concerned Alumni of Princeton University." The group was "a far-right organization funded by conservative alumni committed to turning back the clock on coeducation at the University." Alito is now desperate to "distance himself" from his 1985 application, and it's easy to understand why. When Alito appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Stephen R. Dujack writes that he "will have to explain how he permitted himself to belong to an organization that was overtly racist and sexist for its entire 14-year existence."
BILL FRIST CONDEMNED ALITO'S GROUP: Alito joined Concerned Alumni at its founding in 1972. The organization, co-chaired in the beginning by Asa Bushnell and Shelby Cullom Davis, put forth a magazine called the "Prospect," espousing right-wing views against the inclusion of women, minorities, and other groups into Princeton. The New York Times notes, "The magazine's content also grew increasingly provocative under the editorship of conservative rising stars, including Dinesh D'Souza and later Laura Ingraham." The magazine was so extreme that a 1975 alumni panel including Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) refused to support it, concluding "that Concerned Alumni had 'presented a distorted, narrow and hostile view of the university that cannot help but have misinformed and even alarmed many alumni' and 'undoubtedly generated adverse national publicity.'"
GROUP SOUGHT TO KEEP WOMEN OUT: In 1973, the Concerned Alumni executive committee published a statement advocating exclusion of women in higher education: "Concerned Alumni of Princeton opposes adoption of a sex-blind admission policy." Also that year, Davis said he longed for the days when the university was "a body of men, relatively homogeneous in interests and backgrounds." The magazine concluded that the makeup of Princeton, which began admitting women in 1969, "has changed drastically for the worse." Diane Weeks '75, a former colleague of Alito's when he was U.S. Attorney General for New Jersey said, "I once joked to him [Alito] that he must be very disappointed that women were admitted to Princeton and he just didn't have a response."
GROUP SOUGHT TO KEEP MINORITIES OUT, ALUMNI CHILDREN IN: Women were not the only group of people not welcomed by the Concerned Alumni group. A 1983 Prospect essay, "In Defense of Elitism," wrote, "People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. ... Everywhere one turns blacks and hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black and hispanic, the physically handicapped are trying to gain equal representation in professional sports, and homosexuals are demanding that government vouchsafe them the right to bear children." Another 1984 news item in the magazine, reacting to a gay student group's protest to being denied permission to hold a dance at a campus club, concluded, "Here at Princeton homosexuals are on the rampage." But Concerned Alumni did advocate quota systems so that student athletes and children of wealthy alumni continued to attend the university and that right-wing faculty members would populate the humanities and social sciences departments.
SEE ALSO: Advocacy Groups Targeting Vulnerable Senators on Alito Vote by Michael A. Fletcher, The Washington Post
"PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Fifteen foot soldiers newly recruited to the campaign to derail the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. introduced themselves at a recent meeting not only by name but also by offering their reasons for joining the cause...."
PHOTO: Senators up for reelection will be key in the vote on Samuel A. Alito Jr. (Dennis Cook-AP)