Date: January 12, 2006
Senator: Witness - Tober
TOBER: Senator, may I add to that very briefly?
TOBER: We did not find, in the vast number of our interviews and the review with the nominee, and any other extrinsic information we could look at, any pattern of intentional effort to try and have Judge Alito impose himself in cases in which he did not belong.
We are persuaded that some errors were made, some mistakes were made. And they total up to a small handful. In the course of the numbers that he's been sitting on, and I believe Senator Hatch suggested yesterday some 4,000 or 5,000 cases have been adjudicated involving Judge Alito.
We took that into context, particularly in light of the comments from individuals who know him and work with him with respect to the ethics he brings to the position.
LEAHY: You understand, the reason it became an issue here is because it was based on a sworn statement that he'd recuse?
TOBER: Yes, sir.
LEAHY: You also looked into his open-mindedness, his commitment to equal justice. I'm just asking, in doing that -- I've never served on one of these committees that you're on -- there's been a number of studies of the judge's record -- the Knight Ridder, The Washington Post, Cass Sunstein and others. And they have concluded that he had a much more likelihood of siding against discrimination plaintiffs than other circuit judges.
Knight Ridder reviewed 311 of his published opinions, found that he seldom sided with a criminal defendant, a foreign national facing deportation, an employee alleging discrimination or consumers suing big business. And his record stood out significantly from others in the circuit.
Did this question come in on the issue of whether he was compassionate or...
TOBER: The answer is yes. We looked at that. Our reading groups looked at it for us. We discussed it with the nominee in our interview on December 12th.
We are not immune from the media stories that have been available. I suggest everybody on my committee has been watching the last three days very carefully.
We are where we started with that issue. And that is over 300 people we spoke with who know this person as a judge, as an individual, are convinced that he has an open mind; that he does not bring any bias to this decision-making.