Thursday, January 12, 2006

Alito on Birthright Citizenship

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, January 12, 2006 Alito Confirmation Hearings SCHUMER: Just make the argument. You don't even have to tell us how you decide. What imaginable argument could there be for a statute that Congress could deny the citizenship to those born in the United States, say, on the grounds that their parents were illegal aliens? Is there any constitutional argument that you can see off the top of your head? ALITO: Well, Senator, I don't want to say anything that -- could I answer the question, Senator? I don't want to say anything that anybody will characterize as an argument that I am making on one side of this question or on the other side of the question. I know that an argument is being made by people who favor this kind of legislation based on the language under the jurisdiction of the United States. And I don't know whether that will turn out -- I don't know whether it will come before me. I don't know whether, when it's analyzed, it will turn out to be a compelling argument or a frivolous argument or something in between. And I wouldn't express an opinion. SCHUMER: Judge, I simply ask you to give us an interpretation of one of the most direct and clear provisions in the United States Constitution. And if you can't give us an answer on a very, it seems to me, clear-cut question like that, I find, and I think many of us find, make it difficult to make an assessment of how to vote on your nomination. ALITO: Senator, my answer is that it is inappropriate for a sitting judge or for a nominee to a judicial position to offer opinions on constitutional questions that are percolating at that time and may well come before that judge or that nominee. It may turn out to be a very simple question; it may turn out to be a complicated question. ALITO: Without studying the question, I don't know. And even if I had an initial impression, I wouldn't voice it here. I would have to go through the whole judicial decision-making process before reaching a conclusion that I would be willing to...

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