Samuel Alito Promises to Use Judicial Restraint on the Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 9, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Samuel Alito Promises to Use Judicial Restraint on the Supreme Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 9, 2006

Washington, DC ( — After listening to members of both sides of the aisle praise his judicial temperament or castigate him as an activist who would oppose abortion, appellate court Judge Samuel Alito told the Senate Judiciary committee in his opening statement that he would use judicial restraint.

"When I became a judge, I stopped being a practicing attorney. And that was a big change in role," Alito said about the progression of his judicial line of thought.

"The role of a practicing attorney is to achieve a desirable result for the client in the particular case at hand. But a judge can’t think that way," he explained. "A judge can’t have any agenda, a judge can’t have any preferred outcome in any particular case and a judge certainly doesn’t have a client.

Giving a nod to pro-life groups who want the Supreme Court to uphold pro-life legislation, Alito said he would follow the rule of law and help the Supreme Court interpret law rather than make it.

"The judge’s only obligation — and it’s a solemn obligation — is to the rule of law," he explained. "And what that means is that in every single case, the judge has to do what the law requires."

Alito said he’s taken in quite a bit of advice and instruction from fellow members on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, where Alito has been a judge for 15 years.

"I’ve learned a lot during my years on the 3rd Circuit, particularly, I think, about the way in which a judge should go about the work of judging," Alito explained.

"I’ve learned by doing, by sitting on all of these cases. And I think I’ve also learned from the examples of some really remarkable colleagues," he added.

Alito concluded by discussing the temperament of judicial restraint a good Supreme Court justice exhibits.

"Good judges develop certain habits of mind. One of those habits of mind is the habit of delaying reaching conclusions until everything has been considered," Alito explained

"Good judges are always open to the possibility of changing their minds based on the next brief that they read, or the next argument that’s made by an attorney who’s appearing before them, or a comment that is made by a colleague during the conference on the case when the judges privately discuss the case," Alito said.

He closed by saying he would faithfully uphold the Constitution of the United States.