The Stuart Taylor Standard

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A great catch from Scott Lemieux who takes a look into the archives to see how National Journal legal affairs columnist Stuart Taylor thought we should evaluate Samuel Alito:

Alito’s critics have similarly ignored much evidence that his 15 years of steady, scholarly, precedent-respecting work as a judge tell us more about him than a handful of widely (and misleadingly) publicized memos that he wrote more than 20 years ago.

But what about Sonia Sotomayor?

And some may see Sotomayor’s [innocuous] letter [written as an undergraduate] as evidence that she was predisposed to look for the worst, not the best, in the institution that had afforded her such opportunities. She now sits on Princeton’s Board of Trustees.

As Scott says “if I understand correctly, memos Alito wrote directly about important constitutional issues while applying for an important government job should be disregarded, but letters that Sotomayor wrote as a student are somehow important despite their utter lack of relevance to any discernible constitutional issue.”