The word is out: U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. roots for the Phillies, likes strong coffee, and has two attractive children. But what about his record? With 15 years on the bench and some 800 opinions to his credit, Alito's judicial philosophy is still largely unknown in many areas -- including such critical business issues as tort reform and intellectual property, among others.
Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, corporate lawyers, and legal bloggers are hot on the trail. The night before Bush nominated Alito, University of Illinois College of Law professor Larry Ribstein posted a brief summary of 13 of the judge's most important corporate cases on Ideoblog. Since then, specialized Web logs on antitrust, free speech, and other key issues have contributed to the ever-growing body of Alito analysis. So far, he is winning positive reviews from the boardroom set, which is impressed by his precise reasoning and restrained exercise of judicial power. Alito sits on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Philadelphia, so he has heard plenty of commercial disputes originating in Corporate America's home state of Delaware and heavily industrialized Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Here's where he stands on some crucial business concerns.
By Lorraine Woellert