With all the complaints about the Alito hearings lacking in excitement, it's easy to see how so many people missed this outrageous exchange in the middle of yesterday's session:
Senator Specter: How would you weigh that consideration on the woman's right to choose?
Judge Alito: Well, I think the doctrine of stare decisis is a very important doctrine. It's a fundamental part of our legal system. And it's the principle that courts in general should follow their past precedents. And it's important for a variety of reasons. It's important because it limits the power of the judiciary. It's important because it protects reliance interests. And it's important because it reflects the view that courts should respect the judgments and the wisdom that are embodied in prior judicial decisions.
Senator Kennedy: A witness has testified that you are personally responsible for the murder of a New York City police captain in 1947 and with him a man named Virgil Sollozzo. You deny this?
Judge Alito: Yes, I do.
Senator Leahy: Is it true that in the year 1950, you devised the murder of the heads of the so-called "five families" in New York to assume and consolidate your nefarious power?
Judge Alito: That's a complete falsehood.
Senator Kennedy: Is it true that you have a controlling interest in three of the major hotels in Las Vegas?
Judge Alito: No, it is not true. I own some stock in some of the hotels there, but very little. I also have stock in IBM and IT&T.
Senator Biden: Mr. Corleone, do you have any interests or control over gambling and narcotics in the state of New York?
Judge Alito: No I do not. And my name is Samuel Alito.
Senator Grassley: Mr. Chairman, I would like to verify the witness's statement. For years now a growing number of my constituents have been of Italian decent, and I've come to know them well. They have honored me with their support and with their friendship. Indeed, I can proudly say that some of my very best friends are Italian-Americans. However, Mr. Chairman, at this time, very unfortunately, I have to leave these proceedings in order to preside over a very important committee, my own committee. But before I leave I do want to say this: that these hearings are in no way whatsoever a slur upon the great Italian people. Because I can state from my own knowledge and experience that Italian-Americans are among the most loyal, most law-abiding, patriotic, hard-working American citizens in this land. And it would be a shame, Mr. Chairman, if we allowed a few rotten apples to give a bad name to the whole barrel. Because from the time of the great Christopher Columbus up through the time of Enrico Fermi right up until the present day, Italian-Americans have been pioneers in building and defending our great nation. They are the salt of the earth, and they're one of the backbones of this country.
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