Samuel A. Alito Jr., 55, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit.
Alito, who was nominated to the court by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, was educated at Princeton University and Yale Law School. His work experience includes stints as assistant to the solicitor general and deputy assistant to the attorney general during the Reagan administration, and as U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey.
Alito has voted to uphold regulations on abortion, notably as the lone dissenter in a 1991 case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law's requirement that women tell their husbands before having an abortion. The three-judge panel preserved most elements of the abortion-control law, including a 24-hour waiting period and a requirement that minors notify their parents. Alito argued in his dissent that the spousal-notification provision did not impose an "undue burden" and also should have been upheld.
In other rulings, Alito wrote for the majority in 1997 in finding that Jersey City officials did not violate the Constitution with a holiday display that included a creche, a menorah and secular symbols of the Christmas season. In 1999, he and his colleagues found that a Newark policy that allowed medical, but not religious, exemptions to a ban on police officers having beards violated the First Amendment.
-- Christopher Lee