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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 17:29 GMT
Profile: Judge Samuel Alito
Judge Samuel Alito, the man who President Bush has chosen to be a US Supreme Court justice and whose appointment has been confirmed by the Senate, is seen as a staunch conservative.

Judge Samuel Alito
Judge Alito faced tough opposition from Democrats

A 55-year-old Roman Catholic of Italian descent, Judge Alito was appointed to the federal appeals courts in 1990 by the first President George Bush.

The following year he voted to uphold all restrictions on abortion in Pennsylvania law, requiring a woman to notify her husband before an abortion.

This was struck down by the Supreme Court in a decision that reaffirmed the landmark Roe v Wade case.

Reports say that President Bush believes that Judge Alito has the right experience and conservative ideology for the job.

He has been compared to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and his nomination faced strong opposition from Democrats.

The Democrat leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, has warned that he would "create a lot of problems" at the US top court.

'No agenda'

Before his 1990 appointment to the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Mr Alito served as US attorney for New Jersey for three years.

1950: Born in Trenton, New Jersey
1972: Graduates from Princeton
1975: Earns Doctor of Law degree at Yale
1981-85: Assistant to US solicitor general
1985-87: Deputy assistant to US attorney general
1987-1990: US attorney for district of New Jersey
1990-present: Judge, US court of appeals

He had previously worked in the Reagan administration's justice department.

Mr Alito, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey, studied at Princeton and Yale.

Timothy Lewis, a former appellate court judge who served with Mr Alito and differs with him ideologically, told AP news agency he thought he would make a good Supreme Court justice.

"There is nobody that I believe would give my case a more fair and balanced treatment," he said.

"He has no agenda. He's open-minded, he's fair and he's balanced."

Other notable cases involving Mr Alito include:

  • Police v City of Newark, 1999; the opinion he drafted ruled that Muslim police officers in Newark could keep their beards for religious reasons

  • Fatin v INS, 1993; he joined the majority in backing the right of an Iranian woman to seek asylum on grounds of fear of persecution for her gender and feminist ideas

  • The Pitt News v Pappert, 2004; he backed the right of student newspapers to carry alcohol adverts as a matter of free speech.

  • ACLU v Schundler, 1998; he ruled that a public display of a creche and menorah did not violate prohibitions on government endorsement of religion because it also included non-religious symbols like Frosty the Snowman.

Listen to Mr Bush's comments on Samuel Alito

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