Date: January 12, 2006
Senator: Witness - Scirica
SPECTER: Thank you very much, Judge Becker.
We now turn to Chief Judge Anthony Scirica who, like Judge Becker, has known Judge Alito on the 3rd Circuit for the 15 years of Judge Alito's service there.
Judge Scirica became chief judge in May of 2003, succeeding Chief Judge Edward Becker. Judge Scirica has a Bachelor's degree from Wesleyan, 1962, Michigan Law School, 1965. Appointed to the district court by President Reagan and, in 1984, to the circuit court also by President Reagan in 1987.
Thank you very much for coming in, Judge Scirica, and we look forward to your testimony.
SCIRICA: Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
For the last 15 years, I have worked with Judge Alito. For 15 years, we have decided thousands of cases while serving on the same Court of Appeals.
On most cases we have agreed, but not always. Judges don't always agree on every case.
As the chief justice remarked last summer, much like a baseball umpire, a judge calls balls and strikes. If the pitch is down the middle or way outside, the call is straightforward. But many pitches are on the corners and then the calls are difficult.
These cases require hard thought, and these are the cases where a judge earns his or her keep.
In 15 years on the Court of Appeals, Judge Alito has more than earned his keep. He is a thoughtful, careful, principled judge who is guided by a deep and abiding respect for the rule of law.
He is intellectually honest. He is fair. He is ethical. He has the intellect, the integrity, the compassion and the judicial temperament that are the hallmarks of an outstanding judge.
SCIRICA: On three separate occasions I spoke with a representative of the American Bar Association during its evaluation process. My views and those of my colleagues on the court were sought by the American Bar Association because we have a unique perspective on Judge Alito, a perspective that no one else has.
Anyone can read and interpret his opinions. But we know Judge Alito from almost daily contact over a period of years. We have sat together in the same conference room. We have discussed the cases. We have decided them. And we have exchanged legal memoranda.
Judge Alito approaches each case with an open mind and determines the proper application of the relevant law to the facts at hand. He has a deep respect for precedent. His reasoning is scrupulous and meticulous. He does not reach out to decide issues that are not presented in the case.
His personal views, whatever they might be, do not jeopardize the independence of his legal reasoning or his capacity to approach each issue with an open mind.
Like a good judge, he considers and deliberates before drawing a conclusion. I have never seen signs of a predetermined outcome or view, nor have I seen him express impatience with litigants or with colleagues with whom he may ultimately disagree.
He is attentive and respectful of all views and is keenly aware that judicial decisions are not academic exercises but have far- reaching consequences on people's lives.
We admire him as a person.
Despite his extraordinary talents and accomplishments, Judge Alito is modest and unassuming. His thoughtful and inquiring mind, so evident in his opinions, is equally evident in his personal relationships. He is concerned and interested in the lives of those around him. He has an impeccable work ethic, but he takes the time to be a thoughtful friend to his colleagues.
He treats everyone on our court, and everyone on our court staff, with respect, with dignity and with compassion.
SCIRICA: He is committed to his country and to his profession. But he is equally committed to his family, his friends and his community.
He is an admirable judge and an admirable person.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.