Talk:Samuel Alito

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Biography (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 
WikiProject Law (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon


This article is within the scope of WikiProject Law, an attempt at providing a comprehensive, standardised, pan-jurisdictional and up-to-date resource for the legal field and the subjects encompassed by it.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject United States courts and judges (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States courts and judges, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of the United States federal courts, courthouses, and United States federal judges on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject Conservatism (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Conservatism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of conservatism on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 
WikiProject New Jersey (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of WikiProject New Jersey, an effort to create, expand, and improve New Jersey–related articles to Wikipedia feature-quality standard.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

Idealogical description in leade[edit]

The leade of the article says he has a libertarian streak. This source is from 2005, before he was on the court. I think we need a more up to date description of his idealogy Wargames83 (talk) 07:49, 9 March 2011 (UTC)


Section "Criticism of President Obama"[edit]

There had been a section with the text,

During Obama's first State of the Union Address, Alito appeared to mouth the words "not true" when President Obama argued that allowing corporations, in particular foreign corporations, to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns would increase their influence in Washington. Traditionally, the Supreme Court watches the address, but does not applaud or make comments about it.

This struck me as having a couple of NPOV issues. Firstly, it presents as fact the claim that the decision would allow "foreign corporations... to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns", when this very point is open to dispute (as we saw). And secondly, the section notes that it's unusual for a supreme court justice to show disapproval of the president's remarks, but it didn't note that it's also unusual for a president to criticize the justices so directly in a SOTU address.

I rewrote the section to address these issues. I also bumped the section down a level (making it a subsection of "U.S. Supreme Court career")--if this issue is even sufficiently noteworthy to be mentioned on this page, I don't think it's worthy of a top-level section heading. Frankly, I'd be fine with removing the reference entirely until we can see if it's got legs.

(I also added a news cite, though there may certainly be better ones to use.) -- Narsil (talk) 22:32, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Whoops--I see that there already seems to be a consensus to hold off on documenting this incident. I heartily agree--I'll remove my (edited) version, until we see if it has legs. (It might make sense to document this instead on the 2010 State of the Union Address article--but again, only in a couple of weeks when we can see if anyone still cares.) -- Narsil (talk) 22:41, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
I'll add my two cents and agree that it is not worth including in the article. If it gets included in his obituary thirty or forty years down the road, then it might be. bd2412 T 04:10, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
It will be, considering it's the first time a Supreme Court Justice reacted openly during a State of the Union address. Way to go on white washing your articles again Wikipedia.--Waxsin (talk) 01:31, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I think it should be included, limited to a one-liner that does not characterize the underlying case, and properly sourced. Narsil's January 2010 edit here is pretty close. I would not give it its own section, and I would cite one of the many news reports (or by now, books) rather than the Politico blog. TJRC (talk) 18:31, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
(Follow-up) I would propose to add the following:
During President Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address, Alito appeared to mouth the words "not true" when President Obama criticized the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which Alito held with the majority.[1]
    • ^ Jeffrey, Terence P. (2010). Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life. Regnery Pub. pp. 109–111. ISBN 9781596985971. OCLC 441146607. 
    Any objection? (Apologies for the POV title of the source, but it had the best account of the incident.) TJRC (talk) 18:46, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
    One responds "not true" to a specific statement, not to a vaguely alluded to "criticized". If we include the "not true", we should include information as to what statement(s) prompted that reaction.
    I've considered this pretty much a non-issue from the beginning, so haven't followed the aftermath. Were there any good follow-up comments on exactly what he disagreed with? Fat&Happy (talk) 19:38, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
    "One responds "not true" to a specific statement..." I think that that's a reasonable belief, but I think we should limit the article to factual information: Alito appeared to mouth the words "not true" when President Obama criticized the recent Supreme Court decision. To call this a "response" to the statement is adding our gloss to it (although certainly the commentators have done so). "not to a vaguely alluded to 'criticized'. I'm with you on that. I don't agree with including a label of "criticized" with respect to Alito's gesture. With respect to Obama's criticism of the case, I don't think there's any reasonable disagreement that he was indeed criticizing the holding. See the source cited for a discussion. I liked using a book, because the fact that it survived long enough to be a point of discussion in a book makes tha case better than it just perhaps being news. TJRC (talk) 19:55, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

    Alito's fundraising for right-wing causes[edit]

    James and I disagree about the addition of his two sentences criticizing Alito's participation at certain events (James characterizes them as fundraising events). So far, only he and I have been debating this issue, something I find surprising, so I'm seeking more comments from others.--Bbb23 (talk) 16:35, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

    My addition of information on this subject has been criticized as allegedly coming from a blog, therefore not admissible, a charge that is clearly wrong. The discussion is at User talk:JamesMLane#BLP.

    User Bbb23 raises the additional question of notability. A fine point of legal ethics isn't likely to attract much attention from the mainstream media, unless it's something like a conflict of interest by a judge who sentenced Lindsay Lohan or the like, but the subject was picked up on the websites of, among others, the American Bar Association ([1]), People for the American Way ([2]), and the Wall Street Journal ([3]). (See the WSJ link for a list of some additional reports.) It's not the biggest event in Alito's life but giving it one sentence is not excessive. JamesMLane t c 07:55, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

    Actually, two sentences were involved. I meant to remove both and mistakenly only removed one. Thus, the first of the two sentences is still in the article. Here are the two sentences:

    He has been a featured speaker at fundraising dinners for the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute[20] and The American Spectator, a conservative magazine[21]. Alito has been criticized for such fundraising activities, which the Code of Conduct for United States Judges prohibits for all federal judges other than members of the Supreme Court.[22]

    As for the first sentence, I don't see why it is notable to report that a conservative justice attended fundraising dinners for conservative groups. It only becomes arguably notable in the context of the second sentence that criticizes Alito for doing so. Let's take the first sentence's sources as well. The ISI's characterization as conservative is not borne out by the source, which is simply a program of the event. The characterization of the American Spectator is conservative is also not borne out by the source; in fact, the source doesn't even say it is a fundraising event. But even assuming James can find more sources that say the two events were fundraising and the two organizations are considered conservative, as I already stated, the sentence simply isn't notable. Now let's get to the nub of the addition, which is the criticism. The source for the sentence comes from an admittedly liberal blog. I'm not sure why James think it's not a blog, but it is. See here ("Through this blog, CAPAF seeks to provide a forum that advances progressive ideas and policies."). As to the opinion piece itself, it is highly inflammatory. The title alone, using the term "right-wing", is bad enough. The piece itself reads like investigatory trash pretending to be political commentary. It repeats hearsay ("According to Jay Homnick, a conservative who attended the 2008 Spectator gala, Alito spent much of his speech ripping then Vice President-elect Joe Biden as a serial plagiarizer."). It talks about "secret documents." And the part about the code of conduct in the Alito article, plus the source itself, comes as close to accusing Alito of being unethical as it can: "there may not be a law against it, but there should be, and Alito is clearly breaking it."
    Finally, James's point that it's just one sentence is disingenuous. It's an explosive sentence, and the quality of it - or lack thereof - is more important than its length. Saying "John Doe is a murderer" is one sentence, but its impact is not measured by its length. These two sentences do not belong in the article.--Bbb23 (talk) 15:22, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
    Bbb23 writes, "I don't see why it is notable to report that a conservative justice attended fundraising dinners for conservative groups."
    First, judicial conservatism is not the same as political conservatism. A notable criticism of judicial conservatism is that the decrying of "activist judges" is a smokescreen, and that self-professed judicial conservatives do just as much legislating from the bench as do their more liberal colleagues, except they do so in furtherance of a politically conservative agenda (see, for example, the Citizens United decision). Some readers will be interested in knowing that, off the bench, Alito acts to further political conservatism. We should not assert that his political views color his judicial reasoning, but we should make available the facts that bear on that determination so that the readers can make up their own minds.
    Second, even if we disregard the different meanings of the term "conservative" and the analysis of Alito's judicial philosophy, it is part of his bio that he has supported these entities. Some readers will be interested in knowing about this, just as some will be interested in knowing that his three months of active duty were spent at Fort Gordon. By your logic, we shouldn't even mention that he's in the Federalist Society.
    Bbb23 argues that characteriziations of two entities as conservative aren't borne out by the sources.
    The sources include what's in the footnotes but also what's in the wikilinks within the sentence. The articles on the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and The American Spectator set forth their conservatism. We don't need to repeat the whole explanation, with citations, every time the point is mentioned anywhere. That's what wikilinks are for.
    Bbb23 writes, "The source for the sentence comes from an admittedly liberal blog."
    I addressed this in the discussion I linked so I'll just reiterate the explanation here. I began by pointing to the actual language of the guideline you're relying on, the one concerning "Self-published and questionable sources", which reads in part:

    "Blogs" in this context refers to personal and group blogs. Some news outlets host interactive columns they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists or are professionals in the field on which they write and the blog is subject to the news outlet's full editorial control."

    As I pointed out, ThinkProgress is edited, not self-published, so it could be used as a source for the truth of a factual statement contained in it. As I further pointed out, though, it's not being used that way here; it's being used as a source for the proposition that a particular opinion has been expressed, a proposition that we can report per the WP:NPOV policy ("It is expected that articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects...."). The standard there is that the opinion be significant, not that it meet with the approval of pseudonymous Wikipedia editors (or even of those of us who edit under our real names; our personal opinions are equally worthless in this context). Finally, although the opinion is indeed opinionated (duh), it also includes the important fact that Alito's conduct is not prohibited by the applicable Code. To me that seems to provide a good balance, but if there's some pro-Alito opinion that you think should be added, let us know.
    Bbb23 calls this "an explosive sentence".
    It's nowhere near calling someone a murderer, the example you use. It's saying that, in an area not expressly addressed by the applicable code of judicial ethics, Alito has made a questionable decision. That's well within the boundaries of civil criticism of public officials. JamesMLane t c 02:53, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
    I'll try to keep this brief because I think we're not even close on our positions and at risk of going in circles. ThinkProgress calls itself a blog and is a blog, and it's being used more than just for "facts". It's also being used for opinion. The style of the piece, which is mostly diatribe-like, undermines any credibility it might otherwise have. I'd hardly call it a reliable source for just about anything. If this is that notable, then it should be reported in the mainstream press (and not just derivatively reporting that the blog reported it). The reason there's nothing out there providing "balance" is because the opinion isn't worth balancing. I compare the accusation of ethical breach with murder to make a point, not to say they are the same. The point is that not all sentences are created equal, and this sentence is far more explosive than saying that Alito eats oatmeal.
    Hopefully, other editors will contribute to this discussion.--Bbb23 (talk) 17:17, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
    I'm not really excited about the prospect of using ThinkProgress as a source. Whether or not one labels it a "blog", it's probably a bit below the bar for sourcing I'd like to see for a biography of a Supreme Court Justice. Arguably, the coverage in the American Bar Assocation Journal ([4]) is suitable for inclusion, but that raises two issues. One is whether we'd be giving the issue undue weight, even if we use a reliable source like the ABA Journal. The other is that the ABA Journal piece is very circumspect - it basically just says that a blogger is criticizing Alito, and carefully avoids lending its own editorial weight to the criticism. In any case, it appears that Supreme Court justices are not bound by the judicial Code of Conduct, so the issue is hardly cut-and-dried.

    My personal preference would be to wait and see if this is covered by more high-profile, reputable media. Presumably the specter of Supreme Court justices engaging in partisan political activity is concerning enough that it might generate major-media coverage. If it doesn't, then I think we have to conclude that the issue isn't notable enough for inclusion in a Wikipedia biography. My second choice would be to include something, but source it to the ABA Journal rather than ThinkProgress or other such sites. Just my 2 cents. MastCell Talk 18:04, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

    Another possibility is to have a discussion of the justices' outside activites in the S. Ct. article rather than in individual justice articles. I don't think Alito is alone. This is more of a structural/ethical issue than a personal one. The problem will still be in finding reliable sources to cite. To me, the most interesting issue is why the Code of Conduct for United States Judges doesn't apply to S. Ct. justices.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:23, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
    ThinkProgress is a blog. It calls itself a blog, our article Think Progress calls it a blog, its parent outfit CAP calls it a blog ([5] (see section "From our blogs")), it has won several blog awards, and trad media calls it a blog—a liberal blog at that. See, e.g., [6][7]. To pretend otherwise because it has an "editor" is pure sophistry; to go by James' reasoning, I could name my cat editor emeritus of my blog, and would magically no longer be a blogger, but a writer subject to editorial supervision. And clawing. You can't bootstrap a blog into a valid BLP source by calling the lead blogger an "editor"; our reliable sourcing policy isn't that gullible. The exception to the BLP/RS blog policy on which James relies is for reliable media publishing in blog format, not blogs with internal structures reminiscent of real media. Children are children and should be treated as such, even when they're playing dressup.- Simon Dodd { U·T·C·WP:LAW } 15:11, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    Question #1: Is ThinkProgress a reliable source for factual statements?
    I have no household pets from whom to draw wisdom, so I guess that's why I'm the only person in this discussion who quotes what the guideline actually says. I'll note first that it does not say "blogs are not acceptable sources"; hence, there's no merit to this tactic of uttering the word "blog" as if it were a magic incantation that makes a source disappear in a puff of smoke. Here's the relevant text from Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources#Self-published sources (online and paper):
    Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason self-published media—whether books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, personal pages on social networking sites, Internet forum postings, or tweets—are largely not acceptable.
    "Blogs" in this context refers to personal and group blogs. Some news outlets host interactive columns they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources so long as the writers are professional journalists or are professionals in the field on which they write and the blog is subject to the news outlet's full editorial control. Posts left by readers may never be used as sources.
    Thus, the key inquiry is not whether it's a blog, but whether it's a self-published medium. To say that all blogs are unacceptable (because some are self-published) would be like saying that all books are unacceptable (because some are self-published). You'll note that the terms "books" and "blogs" occur in the same list.
    This is why, in every post I've made on this subject, I've pointed out that ThinkProgress is not a self-published source. It has an editor. Unlike the hypothetical promotion of a cat, the decision about whether to publish this material was actually made by someone (i.e., some living human being) other than its author. Therefore the material isn't self-published. If you believe that "it calls itself a blog" and the winning of blog awards are reasons not to use a source, you should be seeking to amend the guideline.
    Question #2: Does this material need to have a reliable source?
    Here again, no one but me quotes the policy. Per WP:NPOV, we report facts about opinions: "It is expected that articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects...." To say that this opinion was expressed about Alito, we don't need a reliable source establishing that the opinion is correct. All we need is to be reasonably sure that the quoted or paraphrased opinion was indeed put forth by the attributed source. Absent any indication that someone has hacked into the ThinkProgress website, we have that reliability. Lest anyone believe that this is just some insidious liberal attempt to smuggle in opinion, I note that we have also reported facts about right-wing opinions that are expressed in blogs. For example, the article on the John Edwards extramarital affair includes this passage:
    Several prominent sites criticized the omission of information about the allegations, most notably Gawker.com[1][2] and the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog.[3][4][5] Another critic was Roger L. Simon of Pajamas Media,[6][7] whose posts were linked by Glenn Reynolds at the high-traffic weblog Instapundit.[8]
    No one can present a reliable source establishing that these opinions are correct. It's inherently impossible to do so for any evaluative opinion of this sort -- whether the statement is "John Edwards shouldn't have cheated on his wife" or "Wikipedia shouldn't have downplayed the allegations against Edwards" or "Alito shouldn't be helping conservative fundraising". Wikipedia should not assert any of these opinions as fact, but can and should assert the fact that the opinions have been expressed. JamesMLane t c 17:55, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    • James witters at some length in an unpersuasive attempt to escape the straightforward policy at issue; I reiterate my comment above. The attempt to ram a partisan blog through a narrow exception for traditional media publishing in blog format—an exception which doesn't so much authorize the use of blogs as disallows discrimination against otherwise reliable sources which happen to publish in blog format, cf. WP:NEWSBLOG; WP:BLPSPS—is ill-taken. It won't work. - Simon Dodd { U·T·C·WP:LAW } 20:11, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    Excuse me, "exception"? Exception to what? I'm not trying to exploit "a narrow exception" to the general rule against blogs because there is no general rule against blogs, any more than there is against books. The general rule is against self-published sources, be they blogs, books, or anything else. If you think there's some other guideline or policy applicable (i.e. other than the one I've repeatedly quoted), please quote it and give me a link. This is why I keep reiterating (without being contradicted) that ThinkProgress is not self-published. It doesn't need to find an exception to the rule because it doesn't come within the rule in the first place.
    And, of course, you still continue not to address the other argument, based on WP:NPOV -- which happens to be one of our core policies. JamesMLane t c 21:09, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    Note the following within with policy you quoted above: "Some news outlets host interactive columns they call blogs, and these may be acceptable as sources." The Center for American Progress is NOT a "news outlet." Drrll (talk) 21:26, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
    And Think Progress is not a self-published source. There is no general prohibition on using something just because it's called a blog. I'm still waiting for a link or quotation to a guideline or policy that supports the exclusion of an edited online source just because the proprietors choose to be trendy and call it a blog. JamesMLane t c 00:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

    Are there no other sources discussing this? If no hard news source has picked up on it at all, it's hard to see how it should be considered notable. bd2412 T 21:11, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

    Seems to me that a consensus has been reached that the sentences don't belong in the article. However, the discussion can continue. In the meantime, I'm going to remove the first sentence I meant to delete when I deleted the second. At the moment, the sentence is hanging out there anyway as it has no real relevance except in the context of the removed second sentence.--Bbb23 (talk) 01:57, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
    Of course it has relevance. It's illuminating about Alito that he's a member of the Federalist Society. It's illuminating about Alito that he spoke at dinners for the ISI and the American Spectator. These facts are on the same footing in that both show his conservative bent, regardless of whether the criticism of specifically the fundraising aspect of his activities is suppressed. There's no reason to include the Federalist Society but omit the other organizations. (In fact, given that those associations shed light on his life outside the strictly legal sphere, they're arguably more informative than his Federalist Society membership, which merely confirms data found elsewhere in the article.)
    Furthermore, the stated rationale in the earlier discussion was the attack on the Center for American Progress as a source -- even though no one and I mean no one in this discussion ever dares to assert that it's a self-published source and therefore within the guideline, it's just tarred with the same brush. In this instance, you've removed something that's sourced to Politico. Can we agree that Politico is generally acceptable as a source, so that sourcing is not a problem with this information? JamesMLane t c 01:13, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
    I don't agree.--Bbb23 (talk) 03:02, 21 November 2010 (UTC)
    According to our article, Politico has an editorial staff of 75. Are you contending that it is nevertheless self-published, in the same mysterious way that an edited source like Think Progress is somehow transformed into a self-published source? Our article also states that Politico's president and CEO is a former aide to Ronald Reagan. Are you contending that it is nevertheless a worthless piece of left-wing propaganda, unworthy of being included in the same article as such unimpeachably fair and balanced sources as Fox News? JamesMLane t c 00:18, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    Sorry, I'm lost. When I disagreed, I thought you were talking about the original source that was cited (Think Progress). Where did Politico come from and what removal are you talking about. I don't see Politico anywhere in this discussion until now. I must've missed something.--Bbb23 (talk) 00:44, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    I was referring to this edit by you, in which you removed information that was sourced to Politico. My comment beginning "Of course it has relevance" is about the passage affected by that edit. For the criticism of Alito's fundraising role, we don't need a reliable source confirming the criticism, because we're reporting an expression of opinion (with attribution), which is why Think Progress would be acceptable even if it were self-published, which it is not. I agree, however, that the sentence about ISI and the American Spectator is factual and therefore needs a reliable source. My point is that the ISI website and Politico constitute such sourcing. JamesMLane t c 21:38, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    Ah, thanks for the clarification. I removed that, not because of the source, but because it's not notable. It was added to put in context the succeeding sentence. I already noted that point earlier in this discussion and my edit summary for the removal referred to this discussion. Not sure why you're bringing this up again.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:36, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
    For the reasons I explained above, the information has relevance even aside from the context of the criticism. One can assume arguendo that there's a general consensus allowing judges to engage in whatever fundraising activities they like, and we can still give the reader some information about Alito by reporting the choices he makes. He's a member of the Federalist Society, rather than the American Constitution Society, and he did fundraising for ISI and the American Spectator rather than the Center for Constitutional Rights and The Nation. JamesMLane t c 00:50, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
    His membership in the Federalist Society, a very well-known legal organization, is far more notable than any fundraising activities he may have participated in. I don't think the fundraising is worth reporting. I also think that reporting on them, without more, is odd and would be perceived by any reader as odd - it just lacks any real context. As an aside, the membership in the Federalist Societye sentence is phrased as if he no longer is a member ("has been") - it would be nice to clean that up to be more precise.--Bbb23 (talk) 02:08, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
    I agree with cleanup re the Federalist Society, but his support for conservative entities outside the strictly legal field is also revealing as to his political views. Quite a few readers will be interested to know that, outside the confines of the Court, his political views are on that side of the political spectrum. Our bio of William O. Douglas notes his membership on the board of the Sierra Club, and these activities by Alito are similarly informative as to his overall orientation. JamesMLane t c 23:12, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
    Same argument I made about the Federalist Society applies to Douglas and membership in the Sierra Club. Membership in a notable organization is quite different from attendance at some dinners. Just because some readers might be interested does not justify inclusion.--Bbb23 (talk) 23:16, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
    Neither ISI nor the American Spectator is minor or obscure. Both have Wikipedia articles. I'd hazard a wild guess that more people have heard of the American Spectator than have heard of the Federalist Society. More to the point, though, the issue is whether the inclusion provides information about Alito. Notability of the organization doesn't enter into that. If a judge supports an organization with a particular ideological bent, then that's revealing about the judge's predilections regardless of how many other people have heard of the organization.
    Some readers won't care about Alito's politics, but some will, just as some will care where Alito went to school and some won't. I think we should include properly sourced information that would be of interest to a significant number of readers. The article can't be limited to points that we're confident would interest almost all readers. JamesMLane t c 20:24, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
    What matters is whether the information about Alito is notable. Otherwise, even if it's sourced and even if it concerns Alito, it doesn't belong in the article. That's the nub, and on that we disagree - and are pretty much repeating ourselves.--Bbb23 (talk) 20:38, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
    What matters is whether the information about Alito sheds significant light on Alito. It doesn't have to be independently notable. Alito's political leanings are more informative than the names of his children, which no one has tried to remove frm the article.
    Am I correct that, in your view, it would be "notable" and worth including if Alito were a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but if he were a member of a small, obscure, local white racist vigilante group, that fact (even if fully sourced) should be omitted, because the organization isn't independently notable? JamesMLane t c 07:06, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

    ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This is my last comment on this issue because, in my view, consensus on what to include was already reached, and now it's just you and me going in circles. It's not just a function of the notability of the organization but Alito's ties to that organization. Thus, membership in an organization is more notable than a single attendance at a dinner given by the organization as the former implies a continuing commitment. Thus, in your example, if Alito were a member of the Ku Klux Klan, that would be notable, and if he were a member of a white-only less notable organization (and it was well-sourced), that, too, would be notable. As for children, they are part of a subject's background information and there is a line (and not all editors agree) as to how much background information to include. However, facts such as the ones you want to include don't exist in the same neutral vacuum as the fact that he has children and have to be scrutinized more carefully lest our choices as to what to include indicate POV rather than just a more neutral, but subjective, judgment as to how much information about the subject to include.--Bbb23 (talk) 13:28, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

    I agree with you that there's often some subjective judgment involved in deciding what to include. On other points, however, it's not subjective, but a matter of interpretations of policies and guidelines where one interpretation is simply not reasonable. In this thread there are two examples of the latter: (1) the reiterated reliance on a policy that says blogs can't be used, when in fact there is no such policy (there's a guideline against self-published sources, but books or blogs that aren't self-published are manifestly not within that guideline); and (2) the refusal to address the policy that calls for reporting facts about opinions, and the substitution of a (nonexistent) policy that demands reliable sourcing for the correctness of an opinion that's reported.
    The latter is an error that I've seen over and over again. I think it will be worthwhile to try to clarify the policy on that score before proceeding further to include this completely proper information in the Alito article.
    The "consensus" you invoke is the view of a very small number of editors. It is far from being cast in stone. JamesMLane t c 23:40, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
    I don't have so much of a problem with this coming from a blog as with it not also being reported in any source that would confirm its significance. If a well-staffed blog chooses to report what color pants justices wear when seen in restaurants around town, that's not going in. If CNN reports the same thing, that is probably a better hint of encyclopedic notability as to the report. bd2412 T 03:03, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
    The fact of Alito's speech at the Spectator's annual dinner (not mere attendance, as Bbb23 implies) was reported in Politico. That's about all you'll get for something like this, until People magazine starts caring as much about Supreme Court justices' politics as about celebrities' love affairs.
    As for the criticism, this again is something that won't get much attention in the mainstream press, which doesn't focus on fine points of judicial ethics. The policy says, "It is expected that articles will contain information about the significant opinions that have been expressed about their subjects...." In this context, criticism in ThinkProgress is significant, simply because of the nature of the subject, which won't be widely discussed in high-circulation popular media. JamesMLane t c 04:35, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

    Error[edit]

    In the chart underneath his picture including all of the information, there is an error. It suggests that he was "Nominated by" George H. W. Bush, but it was actually George W. Bush. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.113.200.136 (talk) 05:32, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

    He was nominated to a position as Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. That would have been done by George H. W. Bush, who was President at the time. Fat&Happy (talk) 06:19, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

    Only a month protection?[edit]

    This article, which is a WP:BLP, gets only a month protection while Cars 2, gets a full year? I guess we know where are priorities are. The following comment was just a social observation.--Jojhutton (talk) 14:45, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

    Actually, it's the same admin who added the protection to both articles. You could take it up with Courcelles. If I had to guess, it might be because admins want to err on the side of permitting editing of articles of prominent political figures - democracy in action and all - but that's pure guesswork on my part.--Bbb23 (talk) 17:10, 5 March 2011 (UTC)