Samuel Alito (Justice) | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Samuel Alito is an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States, known for his conservative approach to jurisprudence.

Early Life and Education

Samuel Alito was born on April 1, 1950, in Trenton, New Jersey. From an early age, he showed interest in law. After completing high school, he went on to study at Princeton University. He graduated in 1972 and then attended Yale Law School. Alito earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1975, marking the start of his legal career.

Legal and Government Career

Alito’s career has spanned several roles. He served as a law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Later, he worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He also served in the Department of Justice and as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Appointment to the Supreme Court

In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Alito to the Supreme Court. His nomination came after the withdrawal of Harriet Miers, an earlier nominee. After a Senate confirmation, Alito joined the Supreme Court in January 2006.

Voting Record and Judicial Philosophy

Alito is recognized as a consistent conservative voice on the Supreme Court. Like his conservative colleagues, he often interprets the Constitution based on originalism. This means he looks at what the framers of the Constitution intended when it was written.

Alito often votes in favor of law enforcement in criminal cases. He also supports religious freedom, including in cases that intersect with other issues like healthcare and LGBTQ+ rights.

On social issues, Alito has voted conservatively. He dissented in the landmark 2015 case that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. He has also expressed support for restrictions on abortion.

Yet, Alito’s record isn’t without surprises. For instance, he has occasionally sided with the liberal justices in cases involving the rights of employees in the workplace.

Personal Life

Alito married Martha-Ann Bomgardner in 1985, and they have two children, Philip and Laura. His family life is kept private, away from his professional responsibilities.


Samuel Alito is a significant conservative figure on the Supreme Court. His journey from New Jersey to the highest court in the U.S. demonstrates his dedication to law and his commitment to his understanding of the Constitution.

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Last Modified: 06/06/2023

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