Gap in Alito paper trail!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 1 2005 6:11 PM

Gap in Alito Paper Trail!

Plus, the only even vaguely colorful Alito anecdote.

In nominating Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, President Bush is in effect saying, "You want a paper trail? I'll give you a paper trail!" Alito's been an appellate judge for a decade and a half. He trails opinions requiring that a woman notify her husband * before having an abortion; striking down a ban on machine guns; disallowing a school hate-speech code; etc., etc. The Senate Judiciary Committee won't lack for bedtime reading.

Or will it? The undergraduate newspaper for Alito's alma mater, the Daily Princetonian, reports that Alito's senior thesis on the Italian Constitutional Court is "missing from the University archives." Missing, eh? Just what does that senior thesis say? Get me a subpoena! Get me a special counsel investigation! The cover-up is always worse than the crime! What we have here is the appearance of impropriety! Politics ain't beanbag! It's not the heat, it's the humidity! Feed a cold and starve a fever!

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Sorry. I seem to have whipped myself up into cant-spouting frenzy. I'm better now.

The other reason to peruse Christian Burset's story in the Daily Princetonian is that it contains the closest thing we have to a colorful anecdote about Alito. Ready? Here it goes:

David Grais '72, who roomed with Alito for three years at Princeton, said they were both "too studious for [their] good." But he, too, experienced his roommate's lighter side.

"One of our other roommates pulled some practical joke on Sam, which I do not remember," Grais said in an email. "The other guy drank scotch-on-the-rocks every night. Sam retaliated by putting salt in the water used to make ice cubes in the refrigerator in our room. The other guy went through a full bottle of terrible-tasting scotch before realizing that his ice cubes had been sabotaged."

To-ga! To-ga! To-ga!

Correction, Nov. 2, 2005: An earlier version of this column stated, incorrectly, that Alito's decision required that a woman secure consent from the father. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

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