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Justice Alito

Thumbnail image for IMG_0795.JPG Last Friday, I attended an event featuring Justice Alito, hosted by the Silicon Valley Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. The Justice offered his perspective on some of the "popular myths of judges," including the judge as a scientist, the judge as a constitutional-rubber-stamper, and the judge as a crowd-pleaser.  He also talked about the grueling confirmation process (not something he ever wants to go through again), televising Supreme Court oral arguments (not a good idea), and Marbury v. Madison (not a usurpation of judicial authority).  The Justice was very conversational, showing no qualms about mingling with the crowd or posing for a photo.

When asked about originalism, Justice Alito responded the Constitution was created to establish a structure to our government and to specify a few things that cannot be done.  But the Framers left the rest up to the democratic process, which naturally is subject to modification.  For instance, though the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, it does not explicitly outlaw the use of thermal imaging devices on one's home without a warrant (Kyllo v. United States).  These technological advances could not have been foreseen by the Framers at the time of the Constitutional Convention.  And our ability to deal with these unpredictable consequences is what renders the Constitution NOT a dead document.

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