[JURIST] US Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito [official profile, JURIST news archive] used his 11-minute opening statement [AP transcript; AP video] to the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] late Monday afternoon to describe his family background, his education, and his professional career, and to highlight key points of his judicial philosophy. He spoke after 18 senators made their own opening statements [Washington Post transcript] on the first day of his confirmation hearings. Contrasting his prior experience as a federal appeals court judge to his years as a practicing attorney, Alito stressed that a judge "cannot have a preferred outcome in a particular case" and that judges cannot have an agenda. Alito said that his obligation as a judge was to the rule of law and that "no person in this country, no matter how high or powerful is above the law, and no person in this country is beneath the law." Concluding, he declared:
Fifteen years ago, when I was sworn in as a judge of the court of appeals, I took an oath. I put my hand on the Bible and I swore that I would administer justice without respect to persons, that I would do equal rights to the poor and the rich, and that I would carry out my duties under the Constitution and the law of the United States. And that is what I have tried to do to the very best of my ability for the past 15 years. And if I am confirmed, I pledge to you that that is what I would do on the Supreme Court.On Tuesday and Wednesday Alito is expected to face extensive questioning by committee members about his views on warrantless wiretapping [JURIST report], privacy rights, and abortion [JURIST report]. AP has more.