Samuel Alito (1950- ) is an American jurist who currently serves as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated to the post by President George W. Bush in 2005 and inaugurated in 2006. Prior to his ascension to the Supreme Court, Alito was a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
His judicial philosophy leans conservative and resembles the philosophy of his colleague Antonin Scalia. His nomination was notably contentious and the Democratic Party threatened to use a filibuster to block his confirmation. After he joined the court, as predicted, the court veered significantly to the right and often handed down 5-4 decisions favoring conservative positions, notably Gonzales v. Carhart that upheld the ban on partial birth abortion, Morse v. Frederick that limited the right of free speech in schools, and two cases (Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education and Parents v. Seattle) that invalidated local school desegregation programs.
He wrote the majority opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the Court upheld the right of corporations and to engage in free speech for political campaigns. This decision was criticized by President Barack Obama in the 2010 State of the Union Address, with Alito in the audience. News media have reported that Alito appeared to mouth "that's not true" in response.
- Laurie Kellman (28 January 2010), "Justice looks askance as Obama criticizes court", Associated Press