Yale Law School alumnus Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. was sworn in this afternoon as the 110th justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court, following a 58-42 Senate vote in favor of his confirmation.
Today’s vote, which was preceded by a lengthy national debate about Alito’s judicial conservatism, was split along party lines, with four Democrats voting in his favor and one Republican, Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, voting against the confirmation.
A number of faculty and students at the Law School have been actively involved on both sides of the Alito debate since the judge was nominated by President George W. Bush ’68 in October. Students, faculty and alumni formed groups to investigate Alito’s judicial record and lobby for and against his confirmation. Yale Law professors Anthony Kronman and Ronald Sullivan testified in congressional hearings preceding the confirmation vote, Kronman speaking in support of his former classmate’s character and Sullivan questioning Alito’s judicial track record on Fourth Amendment rights.
Alito joins fellow Law School alumnus Justice Clarence Thomas, who graduated one year before Alito in 1974, on the bench.