Friday, December 23, 2005

Kennedy Seeks Alito Docs on Princeton Case

ABC News
Kennedy Seeks Alito Docs on Princeton Case
Kennedy Seeks Documents on Alito's Involvement With Conservative Group
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Sen. Edward Kennedy is pressing for documents on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's involvement with a conservative group that argued Princeton University lowered its admission standards to accept women and minorities.

In a letter on Thursday, Kennedy, D-Mass., asked Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., to make a formal request for files in the private papers of a founder and leader of Concerned Alumni of Princeton.

"In view of CAP's troubling opposition to equal educational opportunity for women, minorities and the disabled, it is important for the committee to learn more about Judge Alito's involvement in this organization," Kennedy wrote.

Alito said last month that he did not recall any involvement with the group, which two decades ago sparked controversy by saying school officials had lowered the Ivy League university's admission standards to allow enrollment of women and minorities.

"A document I recently reviewed reflects that I was a member of the group in the 1980s. Apart from that document, I have no recollection of being a member, of attending meetings or otherwise participating in the activities of the group," Alito wrote the Senate.

Alito's recollections differ from what he wrote when he was seeking appointment to the Reagan administration. In a 1985 job application letter, he wrote that he was currently a member of "the Concerned Alumni of Princeton University, a conservative alumni group."

Alito graduated from Princeton in 1972, the same year the group was founded. Among the organization's leaders was William A. Rusher, who was publisher of the National Review. The Library of Congress has Rusher's papers from 1940-89.

In his letter, Kennedy said the Congressional Research Service has tried to get access to files in Rusher's papers that may relate to the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Rusher has refused, citing his right to know who is seeking the material and how it will be used.

Kennedy argued that a formal request from Specter would result in greater cooperation.

The Massachusetts senator questioned why the information Alito disclosed in his 1985 job application never came up during his 1987 nomination as U.S. attorney for New Jersey and his 1990 nomination for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.