Fox's Kelly minimizes Alito's link to "conservative alumni group" -- but Alito didn't
Research ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI
Megyn Kelly said that Samuel Alito "had almost no connection" to the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. But Alito himself regarded his involvement with CAP as worthy of mention in an application for a job with the Reagan administration in 1985.
During Fox News' July 15 coverage of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court confirmation hearing, co-host Megyn Kelly said that during Justice Samuel Alito's confirmation hearing, Sen. Ted Kennedy "would not get off of that Concerned Alumni of Princeton [CAP], to the point where Arlen Specter had to begin the hearings the next day by reading a statement underscoring that the nominee had had almost no connection to that group." But Alito himself regarded his involvement with CAP as worthy of mention in an application for a job with the Reagan administration in 1985.
Alito listed his membership in the group in the "Personal Qualifications Statements" section of his 1985 application for the position of deputy assistant attorney general with the Reagan administration, in which he described CAP as "a conservative alumni group." From Alito's application:
Fox News itself previously reported of Alito's "membership in CAP" in a January 2006 FoxNews.com article:
In 1985, the then-assistant to the solicitor general composed a memorandum requesting promotion in which he listed his membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton as proof he had the criteria to move up in the Reagan administration. CAP, which disbanded in 1987, was formed in 1972 in response to changes in Princeton University's admissions and campus activities.
The fact remains that Alito has been unable to explain his membership in CAP, and for those who fear he is more insensitive to minorities and women than Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the moderate conservative he is tapped to replace, Alito's disavowals offer no comfort.
"Why would you put on a job application your membership in an organization that you know so little about?" [NAACP Washington bureau executive director Hilary] Shelton asked. "I get the impression that is he is fudging [his response]. He believed it was helpful to him at one point in his career advancement, but not for his present career advancement."
Leonard Gross, co-author of "Supreme Court Appointments: Judge Bork and the Politicization of Senate Confirmations," was similarly incredulous.
"He remembers everything else under the sun, including cases decided years and years ago," said Gross, a law professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law. "His explanation rings hollow."
Similarly, a January 12, 2006, Washington Post article reported:
Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s membership in this group, which he touted among his conservative credentials in a 1985 application for a political appointment in the Reagan Justice Department, touched off a bruising political battle yesterday during the third day of confirmation hearings.
Alito, a 1972 Princeton graduate, testified yesterday that he has no recollection of joining the group, and that he would not have done so if he had known of its writings about women and minorities. "I deplore those statements," he said. "I would never be a member of an organization that took those positions."
He said he assumes he joined only because he supported the return of ROTC to the Princeton campus.
From Fox News' July 15 coverage of Sotomayor's confirmation hearing:
BRET BAIER (co-host): Can we, Megyn and Chris, talk about the contrast between this committee hearing, this confirmation process, and the confirmation of John Roberts and Sam Alito? What you saw back then, and what you're seeing with the questioning now. Chris first.
CHRIS WALLACE (co-host): I don't know that I think that it was so different. Obviously, the -- it was a Republican nominee and you had the Democrats -- it was role reversal. The Democrats were going after the nominee and the Republican was defending. They made a big deal, as Megyn pointed out yesterday, about the student group, the Concerned --
KELLY: Alumni of Princeton.
WALLACE: Yeah. And just as the Democrats -- Republicans have in this particular case about the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, I actually thought that they were probably -- the Democrats were tougher on Alito and Roberts than the Republicans have been on Sotomayor. Do you agree with that?
KELLY: I absolutely agree with that last statement. I mean, I -- the cross-examination of Sam Alito was downright brutal. I mean, Mrs. Alito was in tears and it wasn't because she was overreacting. They were very tough on him. And Senator Ted Kennedy -- and Joe Biden was tough, too -- but Kennedy all but called him a bigot and would not get off of that Concerned Alumni of Princeton, to the point where Arlen Specter had to begin the hearings the next day by reading a statement underscoring that the nominee had had almost no connection to that group. I don't know whether we'll see the same with her. A lot of people think that never should have happened to Sam Alito and nothing similar should happen to Sonia Sotomayor. What today brings, remains to be seen.