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Still More on CAP:

In addition to the Washington Post article linked by Orin last night, this morning's Washington Times brings this article on the dust-up with additional reactions, "Alito Accused of Racism."

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Still More on CAP:
  2. Good Night and Good Luck:
  3. More on CAP:
Cold Warrior:
Let's not confuse two things here:

1. Schumer's idiotic line of questioning: "you're a liar, aren't you Judge Alito ... you know very well that you belonged to the CAP and were damn proud of it." [Schumer is probably correct, but this kind of questioning certainly doesn't advance the debate.]

2. Alito's actual opinions and beliefs. As I understand it, CAP was created for one reason and one reason only: opposition to Princeton's plan to go co-ed. So good questions include: "Why did you think it was a good idea to keep Princeton all male?" "Do you still believe that?" "Do you think the Princeton of today would be a better university if it were not co-ed?" "If you've changed your mind, what made you change it?" The 1983 CAP magazine article cited in the Wash Times (about "people not seeming to know their place these days") certainly seems pretty offensive. "Judge Alito, did you subscribe to that magazine?" "Did you read that article?" "Why were you trumpeting your membership in a minor group focused on an admittedly parochial and dead issue ("no women at Princeton") more than a decade after you graduated?"

In other words, there is an important kernal of truth to be exposed here:

"Why are you presenting yourself as someone above the political fray, when you obviously owe your very position as an appellate court judge to your raw political abilities and ambitions?" Or to put it bluntly, "Why must we pretend that you are something other than a political animal?" Alito could answer (perhaps honestly) that he put his politics aside when he ascended to the bench. But he will probably answer (obviously dishonestly) that he never was a political animal.

And that, friends, IS a problem.
1.12.2006 10:48am
A.S.:
"But he will probably answer (obviously dishonestly) that he never was a political animal."

Hasn't he already said that he is a conservative? And that the point of listing those things on his job application was to provide evidence to a politically conservaticve administration that he was, in fact, a conservative (which, since he was applying for a poltical appointment, was necessary)? I don't see what the objection is.

Also, I commented on the thread a couple of posts down: can someone explain to me when opposition to co-education at Princeton is such a controversial position? There are, of course, dozens of single-sex colleges in the US. Many are all-female, to be sure, such as Bryn Mawr and Smith. But there are a few all male schools left too. Is everyone associated with any one of those schools sexist?
1.12.2006 11:00am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
The Washington Times realiably indicates what the most partisan of GOP operatives want to see. It appears, then, that they would like to pretend that this is a debate over whether Alito is a closet racist.

In reality, the reason that this is an issue is NOT NOT NOT just that he was once a member of CAP, or that any serious person think he wants to advance a white power agenda on the Court. Rather, it's that he (1) touted his membership in a job application in 1985, and (2) claims now to have no memory whatsoever of the group, except for a nonsensical assertion that it had to do with the expulsion of ROTC (which was never one of CAP's big concerns, plus ROTC had been re-admitted back when Alito was still at Princeton more than a decade earlier).

Todd, please stop piling distractions ("McCarthyite!") upon irrelevancies ("Here's what the Washington Times/GOP Talking Points want this debate to be about!").
1.12.2006 11:02am
JosephSlater (mail):
A.S.:

It would be fine if Alito had said some more refined version of, "hey, I'm a conservative, and here's why I think Princeton should have remained single-sex and/or here's why I was part of a group that accused minorities of not knowing their place." But instead he's essentially pretending it never happened, even though it was important enough for him to mention in his 1985 job application.

Maybe it's part of the inevitable dance: everyone knows he's right wing, but he is coached to say he's not, really, necessarily, maybe all that much. Still, it is odd.
1.12.2006 11:05am
Cold Warrior:
A.S., that's why Schumer should ask him the questions I suggested.

In fact, I'm sick and tired of the way these hearings go. Don't ask Alito how he'd decide a certain case. He won't tell you. Perhaps he has no idea how he would decide it until he sees it.

Ask him what he believes. This includes political beliefs. Does he think there is value in single-sex institutions? Remember, the context is quite different today than it was in the early '70s. One could certainly say, back then, that keeping Princeton all male was a way of preventing women access to positions of power. Maybe not so today. Are all-female schools a good idea? Why? Why not?

Senators should explore what is explorable: what do you believe and why? It could be that Alito's beliefs will not inform his judicial opinions. That's fine. But as a starting point can we at least determine this: SPEAKING TODAY, DO YOU THINK PRINCETON SHOULD HAVE REMAINED ALL MALE?
1.12.2006 11:06am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
On second thought, I may have been a bit hasty to assume that you, Todd, share the Washington Times view that it would be fun to pretend that this is a debate about Alito being a racist.

Still, I don't see any other reason to link to the WashTimes article (at all, especially by name) other than to float that charge.
1.12.2006 11:12am
Cheburashka (mail):
I don't think Schumer's correct. My guess: In 1985 Alito had a general sense of CAP as the kind of conservative organization membership in which could help him get the Reagan job, so he put it on his resume. Maybe he actually joined, maybe not.
1.12.2006 11:14am
A.S.:
"But as a starting point can we at least determine this: SPEAKING TODAY, DO YOU THINK PRINCETON SHOULD HAVE REMAINED ALL MALE?"

I believe that someone in fact DID ask him this. And Alito replied something to the effect: "I was/am happy there were girls at Princeton."
1.12.2006 11:20am
Cold Warrior:

I believe that someone in fact DID ask him this. And Alito replied something to the effect: "I was/am happy there were girls at Princeton."


Ahh, yes, what a wit.

How about a serious answer to a serious question?
1.12.2006 11:23am
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
On second thought, I may have been a bit hasty to assume that you, Todd, share the Washington Times view that it would be fun to pretend that this is a debate about Alito being a racist.

Of course its about Alito being a rascist. The rest is your personal characterization of the matter. The fact that it was listed on a resume Alito's resume (is that 'tauting', if so i've been 'tauting' my being a member of the guitar club in HS for years [which by the way i utterly forgot until i saw pictures years later]).

And of course the charge that 'forgetting' is evidence of lying is questionable at best. Think about it, what would be more efficient for Alito, simply stating he vaguely remembers the group and never new of its radical elements and now decries the whole affair? Or telling the truth that he simply cant recall anything about it, knowing full well it will be treating by his enemies as stonewalling? There is no upside to such a lie. If he does remember, telling the truth is far more convenient and he's smart enough to know that. There is no motive for Alito in the scenario you are laying out. Your problem seems to be you've run into an honest man not willing to use a convenient white lie and the only conclusion you can draw is that something sinister underlies it.

If you give Alito the benefit of the doubt that an honest man with an impecable resume of public service deserves, this line of attack is entirely unseemly. The 'bomb' being thrown is that he is a closet racist, and the evidence is his inability to prove otherwise. And if that doesnt stick all the shrapnel from the original grenade gets laid at Alito's feet. Shameful.
1.12.2006 11:27am
Sydney Carton (www):
I wisht these hearings could go on FOREVER. It would destroy the Democrats. This CAP issue is the stupidest thing I've heard in my life. If membership in CAP is a disqualifier, then the ACLU is a disqualfier.

Oh no! An alumni group that wants to keep Princeton single sex?!!? Just like all the single-sex alumni groups at all the women's colleges?

Oh no! An alumni group that had a diverse membership like Bill Bradley and some moron who wrote the article quoted yesterday. Which club could EVER have such a diverse membership? I've NEVER been in a club that didn't have the token moron.

You guys really are funny sometimes. I see no problem putting CAP on my resume. Heck, I can't remember which clubs I put on my resume from 5 years ago. Clubs were never important to me. I'd sign up and forget about them. Yet, they probably got on my resume. Oh no!!!!!!!!

Alito will get confirmed. Too frigging bad.
1.12.2006 11:27am
Sydney Carton (www):
"How about a serious answer to a serious question?"

Heh. You assume too much.
1.12.2006 11:28am
Commentarian:
A number of years back, I was a member of the College Republicans at my university.

We had an out and out racist whom we couldn't exclude other than socially (we had open meetings, you could come, if you wanted, regardless of any political affiliations or whatnot... part of the whole "campus organization" thing). He would write idiotic, racist, inflammatory stuff in the school paper, and direct racist comments to the minority members of the CRs (yes, we had them, yuk yuk etc.)

We did keep him frozen out of any sort of leadership position, but that can't really stop him from being associated with the group.

We also opposed affirmative action, and organized various things against it (I was gone long before the "bake sale" fad, thank you).

Does our opposition, as a political organization, to affirmative action, plus the presence of the token idiot/racist, make the entire group somehow dedicated to preventing any minority members, ever, from attending our university? Should I never mention my involvement with the CRs?

Following the CAP debate, it seems like many people would say "yes, you bigot." That's pretty idiotic.
1.12.2006 11:38am
Robert F. Patterson (mail):
Boy, I thought Schumer and Ted Kennedy were scraping the barrel to find some picky fault with Alito, (who doesn't have peccadillos in his past?). But some of these questions (suggested) out-Herod, Herod.
1.12.2006 11:38am
A.S.:
"How about a serious answer to a serious question?"

Huh? It was a serious answer presented in a humorous manner.

The more I read these threads, the more I think that Todd was right to post the Welch-McCarthy excerpt yesterday.

The allegation that Alito is a racist or a sexist because he once listed CAP on an appication is McCarthyism, pure and simple.

Similarly, the allegation that he is lying because he says he doesn't recall his membership in CAP is also simple McCarthyism.
1.12.2006 11:43am
Cold Warrior:
Commentarian:

Good point ... in general.

But nobody's taking on the specific allegations here:

1. CAP continued to exist into the 1980s. (Since the co-ed issue was dead, perhaps CAP had been hijacked by a fringe element, akin to putting your College Republican racist in charge.)

2. CAP published an "official" magazine.

3. That magazine included the article everyone's talking about.

In other words, by the time 1983 rolled around, obviously CAP -- or what was left of it -- had become controlled by wacko fringe elements. Racists? I think so. I can't find any other reasonable explanation for the "people just don't seem to know their place anymore" line, which immediately precedes a discussion of blacks and hispanics. I dare you to "reform" this quote, or to interpret it in an inoffensive way.

So, again, Alito's only honest answer would seem to be: "I continued to belong to CAP, but I never read it's magazine, and I was unaware that it had morphed into some kind of weirdo screed."

So why can't Alito say that? I suspect that is the truth. And that would probably put an end to all this.

As long as he feigns total ignorance of CAP -- not just the 1983 version of CAP, but the 1974 version that he voluntarily joined -- he won't be able to put this behind him.

It's called honesty, Judge Alito. Sometimes we call it "the truth, the whole truth ... ."

And believe it or not, it is now the best policy for you and for the country.
1.12.2006 11:47am
DK:
People here are really lacking the facts about CAP. I went to Princeton ('94, a year after Orin), and I would like to give you some facts about CAP:
1. CAP DID NOT have one random racist member writing embarrassing things. It did have an official magazine for which it hired an editor, Dinesh D'Souza, a non-Princeton grad, who wrote several really embarrassing and racist sounding things, as well as some extremly slimly ad hominem attacks on individual Princeton students.

Mr. Commentarian, there is a big difference between having one racist member you can't get rid of, and hiring that guy to be your editor or spokesman.
2. CAP was NOT about keeping Princeton single-sex in the tradition of Bryn Mawr. This is factually incorrect. For most of its existence CAP was about the following:
a. Opposing the perceived liberalism of the Princeton administration, by radical and aggressive tactics such as mailing the parents of all incoming freshmen to warn them away from sending their kids to Princeton.
b. Opposing increased admissions of both racial minorities and women, and at times advocating quotas to limit the number of minority students and increase the number of admitted alumni. [See previous posts on this blog about the book "The Chosen" on the old culture of the ivy league, where "well-rounded" was a euphemism for "WASP, not jewish or asian". CAP is explicit in calling for the same admission standards "The Chosen" condemns.

When I was at Princeton in the '90s, CAP operated in secret, by providing secret funds to campus conservative groups and publications which were nominally student-run. In the '80's, it operated openly by distributing its magazine (Edited by Dinesh D'Souza, and full of really slimy hatched jobs) to all students. In the '70's, it mostly campaigned against alumni giving donations to the university.

Personally, I think the organization is creepy and dangerous, and I would hope Alito was not confirmed if he were still a member today. However, now that I've heard Bill Bradley was a member in the early '70s, it seems plausible to me that it was a more reasonable mainstream group at first, with people like Bradley and Alito joining, and it only later went it for the racial innuendo, sexual smears of female students, and secret machinations.
1.12.2006 11:52am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):



But nobody's taking on the specific allegations here:


Probably because the "specific allegations" have nothing to do with anything the nominee actually said or did and represent a transparent attempt by his opponents to smear him by association.
1.12.2006 11:53am
Cold Warrior:
Y'know, I initially missed Zywicki's comment on Sen Kennedy's CAP questioning as reminiscent of Sen McCarthy.

May I remind everyone: if Arthur Miller had been circulating a resume that included this item:

"Member, American Communist Party,"

McCarthy wouldn't have had to ask him.
1.12.2006 11:53am
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
who doesn't have peccadillos in his past?

Thats kinda the point, look at the context. This man's life has been placed under the biggest microscope money can buy and this is the most titilating thing they can come up with? Doesnt the fact that not a single substantial allegation can be raised against this mans character affect how we judge this? My god, i have no doubt you could google my name and find a half dozen drunken tirades about god knows what that would cause twice the uproar this does, and i think that goes for most people.

No little white lies on the taxes, no paying the babysitter under the counter, no using the N word in front of a bartender somewhere, no Playboy in the desk drawer the secretary finds, no mistress, no unclaimed kids, no defrauding the company, no drug habit, no taking the neighbors car for a joyride?

Come on. This guy is ridiculously squeaky clean. This charge just doesnt stick, its utterly out of character, utterly uncorraborated. Do you really think a man that has been this careful would intentionally 'taut' his racist credentials to get a job in the White House? That makes sense? The only way any of this passes the laugh test is if you really believe Republicans are deep down racists and opposing affirmative action really is intended to keep minorities down. Kennedy obviously believes this tripe- but reasonable people dont. The only way this argument works is if you assume a Conservative must be a racist and all you need is the smoking gun to confirm what you know to be true.
1.12.2006 11:54am
Patrick (mail):
Why are all male schools wrong and why is it wrong to defend them? The same standard doesn't seem to exist at all when the topic is all female schools. The groups I usually find defending all female education aren't rabid right wingers either, but loopy lefties.
1.12.2006 11:55am
DK:
Patrick, the standard here is that to defend all male schools by publishing the sexual history of individual female students is wrong. That is the kind of thing CAP did in the '80's. It is quite different IMHO from using reasoned arguments to defend all male schools.
1.12.2006 12:00pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
So why can't Alito say that? I suspect that is the truth. And that would probably put an end to all this.

Because he honestly doesnt remember???!!?? You're proving my point, there is no upside if he is lying. Exactly. But consider for a second what you have dismissed out of hand: the man is simply telling the gods honest truth. Why are you demanding that he lie to you? You're right that it would simplify things for him. Its just incredible that not taking the politically expediant path of the little white lie is taken as proof of an even greater misdeed. Give the man the benefit of the doubt for a brief moment, if he really doesnt recall, what would you have him do?
1.12.2006 12:01pm
Sydney Carton (www):
"But nobody's taking on the specific allegations here"

That's because guilt-by-association allegations are inherently IDIOTIC.
1.12.2006 12:02pm
Patrick (mail):
The standard as I am hearing it is simply that all male education is ipso facto wrong. And to defend it in any way is beyond the pale and such a person defending it should be shunned by civilized society.

CAP dealing with the issue in such a way is unsurprising. Such immature tactics are a hallmark of campus politics and political groups (and no one is claiming Alito had anything to do with it).

It seems to me that most people on this issue are speaking from ignorance since they spent their college days firmly on the liberal side of the fence, in which a majority of students existed, along with a plethora of left leaning groups all with outright faculty support. On the other side of the fence there exists 1, maybe 2 conservative groups. Usually they exist without faculty support and have few members. And there is not much effort to expel members who may voice opinions that are beyond the pale, because if a group does that they'd soon find themselves with no one to talk to about conservative topics, since certainly the liberal groups would never engage conservatives in substantive discussion.
1.12.2006 12:14pm
Michael B (mail):
"(1) touted his membership in a job application in 1985, and (2) claims now to have no memory whatsoever of the group" Bob Bobstein

On that 1985 application (which is the only known reference to this org by Alito) he does not "tout" his membership, he more simply mentions it. By contrast he positively does tout his membership in the Federalist Society. The exact quotes from the 1985 application, pertinent to these two orgs:

"member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton Univ., a conservative alumni group"

"member of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy and a regular participant at its luncheon meetings"

I.e., a simple, unembellished mention of one org. vs. a mention which very much is touted or embellished.

It would in fact be odd if he didn't recall his membership in the Federalist Society given his embellishment; it's not at all "obvious" how odd his lack of recollection is concerning CAP. Additionally, this is the solitary mention of CAP in his entire life that we're aware, a lone mention without any fanfare. Further still, staffers have reportedly now rifled through "the entirety of William Rusher's CAP documents at the Library of Congress and have determined that those documents make no mention at all of Alito." (my emphasis)

But those are mere and unadorned facts. In the face of Kennedy's or Schumer's emotionally laden, beguiling, guilt-by-association conceits, why should we consider these lonely and unembellished facts? Schumer and Kennedy went far beyond aggressive questioning; aggressive and assertive questioning should be welcomed, but that's not the issue. Review Ruth Bader Ginsburg's or Stephen Breyer's questioning and some of it is aggressive; there's no insinuating, emotionally laden, built-by-association attacks.
1.12.2006 12:16pm
Dustin R. Ridgeway (mail):
"Patrick, the standard here is that to defend all male schools by publishing the sexual history of individual female students is wrong. That is the kind of thing CAP did in the '80's."

Wow, did they really do this?
1.12.2006 12:20pm
Cheburashka (mail):
I still have this lingering suspicion that Alito was just lying about his politics on his resume.

And that, frankly, is a legitimate issue for exploration by the committee.
1.12.2006 12:23pm
DK:
Dustin: yes, there was an incident in the 80's when some parent got upset that their daughter, a Princeton student, was sexually active, and they tried to get her unenrolled and their money refunded as a result.

CAP's magazine published the story, including the details of the woman's alleged sex life, and including her name. D'Souza has since apologized for printing her name, and he says that was a mistake.

I am really shocked by how many VC readers will defend CAP or thing it is just about all-male education. I submit that its defenders are simply ignorant of its history or tactics. I am generally conservative, and I find CAP as repugnant as the John Birch Society. I think Alito's involvement was minor and probably harmless, b/c he probably didn't realize the direction the organization would take in the future.
1.12.2006 12:42pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
DK: he probably didn't realize the direction the organization would take in the future.

I think that you're right-- but remember, this is all an issue because he cited it in a 1985 application.

The most likely explanation, I think, is that Alito was grasping at straws in 1985 to prove his conservative bonafides, so he listed this group, figuring that the Reagan DOJ viewed them as fellow-travelers. It comes up again in 2005, so he, embarassed, uses the "I don't recall" method of dodging uncomfortable facts, and says "I was seeking a job in the Reagan administration." That is, "hey, I'm trying to get a job."

How uncomfortable this all makes you depends in large measure on how comfortable you were with Alito to begin with.
1.12.2006 12:55pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
The most likely explanation, I think, is that Alito was grasping at straws in 1985 to prove his conservative bonafides, so he listed this group, figuring that the Reagan DOJ viewed them as fellow-travelers. It comes up again in 2005, so he, embarassed, uses the "I don't recall" method of dodging uncomfortable facts

Isnt it possible that in 85 he was digging through his transcipts and paperwork, just as you suppose, spotted CAP and jotted it down without giving it much thought? And then ten years later he has no recollection of either? Is that really so implausible?

How uncomfortable this all makes you depends in large measure on how comfortable you were with Alito to begin with.

I think this is the bottom line and very true.
1.12.2006 1:22pm
gerry (mail):
The bottom line is that these hearings were trumpted up by the Republican National Committee to allow Senator Kennedy to make a complete fool of himself. Successfully
1.12.2006 1:30pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
And then ten years later he has no recollection of either? Is that really so implausible?

I really think that, if I look at every organization that I made the conscious effort to list on resumes and job applications, I could come up with some explanation of why I joined, what I did or didn't do in them, to at least some extent. Alito's only explanation of why he joined makes no sense-- ROTC had been back on campus for more than a decade when he applied in '85.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that matter; hopefully the back-and-forth was somewhat illuminating.

It looks to me like Alito was eager to say the right things to get a job in '85, which leads to the inference that he might be doing the same again now.
1.12.2006 2:10pm
Patrick (mail):
Here is a link to a NY Times article on the case of CAP, D'Souza, and that girl:
http://www.isthatlegal.org/images/cap3.pdf
1.12.2006 2:20pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
Alito's only explanation of why he joined makes no sense-- ROTC had been back on campus for more than a decade when he applied in '85.

Minor point- recall he didnt join in 85, he simply listed his previous membership on a resume. It is entirely consistent with his story. He almost certainly did no research on the organization or their policies at this time, he simply jotted it down as a resume filler. As far as he knew it as a conservative group still fighting the good fight as when he and Bill Bradley joined.
1.12.2006 2:20pm
Patrick (mail):

Alito's only explanation of why he joined makes no sense-- ROTC had been back on campus for more than a decade when he applied in '85.



Why do people keep saying this makes no sense?

He joined in the 70s right? This was an issue then. Antiwar protestors burned down the ROTC building. And it no doubt was an issue after that. It's still an issue today! Harvard is trying to boot ROTC off.
1.12.2006 2:27pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
CAP wasn't concerned with ROTC-- it was concerned with the growing presence of women and minorities. I am assuming that he didn't join CAP till after he was an alum; ROTC came back when he was still a student. If he joined when he was a student, then I'm wrong, and he was a member for at least 13 years. But Alito isn't about to tell us.

As far as he knew it as a conservative group still fighting the good fight as when he and Bill Bradley joined.

There's lots of room for debate as to whether CAP ever "fought the good fight," but even taking it to be true, the organization was evidently disreputable by 1985. So why did he list it? If he had given the explanation you suggest, it would have helped diffuse the issue. But Alito isn't about to tell us.

I think his CRS disease is a good strategy. Republicans have the majority of seats in the Senate, they seem to be behind him, so if he can just avoid saying anything embarassing, he'll get thru. Easier to do that by pleading lack of memory than by giving some explanation of why he listed that group, at this point.
1.12.2006 2:41pm
Patrick (mail):
Why is it inconsistent to join because of the ROTC issue even after it had been put back? The fact that it was taken away once and the possibility of it being taken away in the future made it a continuing issue. Or did you think the opposition on campus would accept defeat over ROTC never to revisit the issue again? Many of the faculty probably supported the expulsion of ROTC, and those same faculty probably didn't leave campus when Alito did or when ROTC came back.
1.12.2006 3:08pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
There's lots of room for debate as to whether CAP ever "fought the good fight," but even taking it to be true, the organization was evidently disreputable by 1985. So why did he list it?

Because he had no idea it was direputable at that point?

If he had given the explanation you suggest, it would have helped diffuse the issue. But Alito isn't about to tell us.

Exactly. So why would CRS be a good explanation instead of just washing his hands of it as Bradley and Frist did. There are only 2 plausible explantions: one, despite the best coaching available and a keen mind he flatly blundered politically (despite the fact that he hasnt done remotely so in any other facit of his testimony), two that he honestly cant remember and refuses to lie about it. Even though as we agree the lie would be the path of least resistance and certainly undetectable. So either the man is a crass but foolish politician or a man too honest for his own good. What does his record indicate then?
1.12.2006 3:17pm
Patrick (mail):
Because he had no idea it was disreputable at that point?

Or because it wasn't disreputable at that point, only defunct at that point. (Of course liberals thought it was disreputable, but no more than they think any conservative org is disreputable.)
1.12.2006 3:28pm
jallgor (mail):
Alito never said he jonied CAP becuse of concerns over ROTC. What he said was that he doesn't remember joining CAP but he knows that ROTC is the only concern of his that would lead him to join such an organization. Meaning he doesn't know why he joined but he knows that the ROTC issue used to get him fired up so that's the best speculation he can give. This is the classic example of why lawyers tell people not to speculate in depositions. Once spoken, that speculation is used by your questioner as a foundation for future questions as if it were fact.
1.12.2006 3:53pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
despite the best coaching available and a keen mind he flatly blundered politically

I just wrote that it's not a political blunder to say "I don't recall." You think the explanation of least resistance is that he wrote it on his application because he wanted to look good to get a job, then forgot about it. I think the explanation of least resistance is that he he wrote it on his application because he wanted to look good to get a job, then wanted to avoid the issue to look good for the SC job, so he resorted to "I don't recall" and got trapped into it.

liberals thought it was disreputable, but no more than they think any conservative org is disreputable.

No, Patrick, CAP was genuinely pretty bad. They're "right wing" like the American Communist Party is left wing. No one is trying to make an issue of his Federalist Society membership.
1.12.2006 4:17pm
Patrick (mail):
No one is trying to make an issue of his Federalist Society membership.

They already tried that with Roberts and it didn't get them anywhere. Don't pretend that liberals are now and have been kosher with the Federalist Society.
1.12.2006 4:28pm
margate (mail):
I haven't followed the testimony closely.

Did anyone ask why the nominee listed CAP on his 1985 application for the Deputy AAG-OLC position, but not in any prior or subsequent application?

If so, what was the response?
1.12.2006 4:50pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
then wanted to avoid the issue to look good for the SC job, so he resorted to "I don't recall" and got trapped into it.

Thats my point, we both agree that 'I dont recall' is not the path of least resistance. Hence its a political blunder to tell a lie that is worse for you than the truth. Simply acknowleding remembering what happened and discaiming it would kill the story dead if that is the truth which you seem to assume it is. Even if it is not the truth, it would still be more useful to lie and pretend you did remember. There is simply no upside to the "i dont recall" routine in this instance. Hence the only logical answer is that this was a flat out mistake or it is indeed the truth and Alito a truthful guy.
1.12.2006 4:51pm
Mark Buehner (mail) (www):
Did anyone ask why the nominee listed CAP on his 1985 application for the Deputy AAG-OLC position, but not in any prior or subsequent application?

If so, what was the response?


Alito says he doesnt remember either joining or putting it on the 1985 resume. He has speculated about why he might have joined in the 70s but never acknowledged remembering anything about the organization or joining it.

The debate between Bob and myself is over whether Alito is lying about this. Bob thinks it is extremely unlikely Alito wouldnt be able to remember and is obfusticating, I am willing to extend the benefit of the doubt and suggest it is possible he simply doesnt remember. I believe we both agree that admitting to remembering but pleading ignorance to its evolvingly radical and malicious nature would be a 'superior' political answer to not remembering. I have suggested that this fact lends credibility to Alito telling the truth, because whether it is true or not, remember is the 'superior' answer. So why did he lie if there is no benefit in it?
1.12.2006 5:00pm
lralston (mail):
I receive an amazing amount of JUNK mail related to my undergraduate and MBA schools. God forbid I should have responded to one that was EITHER pro or against abortion - I would be tainted in one direction or the other for the rest of my life? This is a silly
1.12.2006 7:15pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):

Personally, I think the organization is creepy and dangerous,

Did they burn down any buildings (like the opposition did)?
1.12.2006 9:54pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):

3. That magazine included the article everyone's talking about.

In other words, by the time 1983 rolled around, obviously CAP -- or what was left of it -- had become controlled by wacko fringe elements. Racists? I think so. I can't find any other reasonable explanation for the "people just don't seem to know their place anymore" line, which immediately precedes a discussion of blacks and hispanics. I dare you to "reform" this quote, or to interpret it in an inoffensive way.

I hven't read the whole article but it seems possible that it was written by this former Brit who's affiliated with lots of conservative publications. It also seems possible that it was satirical.

That would be subtley satirical -- not SNL satirical.
1.12.2006 10:02pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
As I understand it, CAP was created for one reason and one reason only: opposition to Princeton's plan to go co-ed.
As I posted in another thread in response to your assertion, you're wrong. Princeton was already co-ed BEFORE CAP WAS FOUNDED. Several years before.
1.13.2006 1:01am
James Kabala (mail):
If there are any actual pre-1985 Princeton alumni reading this thread:
How well known was CAP circa 1985? If you were an average Princeton alumnus in 1985, would you have been likely to be aware of their existence and the racist or quasi-racist remarks in their magazine, or would it be something completely off your radar screen? A previous poster said that in 1984 they sent out a mass mailing to all alumni, and the President followed up with his own mass mailing, but do you yourself remember receiving and reading these mailings, or did you just throw them in the trash as junk mail? Is the idea that Alito held a nominal membership but never actually followed the society's activities plausible, or were CAP so in-your-face with their tactics that even non-members, let alone nominal members, wouuld be well aware of who they were and what they stood for?
1.13.2006 10:18am
James Kabala (mail):
His Crocker actually a Princeton alumnus and former CAP member, or is that just wild speculation on Mr. Frissell's part?
1.13.2006 10:37am
James Kabala (mail):
I have seen other articles saying that the article was written by Crocker (and that D'Souza claims it is satire). I must have missed that in an earlier post, so my apologies to Mr. Frissell for thinking that he had pulled the idea out of thin air.
1.13.2006 11:03am
hilzoy (mail) (www):
James Kabala:

"If there are any actual pre-1985 Princeton alumni reading this thread:
How well known was CAP circa 1985? If you were an average Princeton alumnus in 1985, would you have been likely to be aware of their existence and the racist or quasi-racist remarks in their magazine, or would it be something completely off your radar screen?"

Princeton '81 here. They were extremely well-known. They sent their magazine out to a lot of alumni, they regularly made news by doing one or another vile charge, etc.

As someone said earlier on this thread, and as I've remarked elsewhere, CAP was not just "a conservative organization". There were lots of conservative organizations at Princeton, and no one had a problem with them. CAP was an organization dedicated to undoing the coeducation of Princeton and its policy of admitting more than token numbers of minorities, at a time when both policies were just a few years old. It did so by spreading falsehoods, trying to disrupt annual giving, writing letters to parents of incoming freshmen about the horrible debauchery their children would find at Princeton, etc. Possibly the best analogy would be not the Federalist Society or some Princeton conservative club, but a small-bore trial run of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,.
1.13.2006 8:37pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
If you were an average Princeton alumnus in 1985, would you have been likely to be aware of their existence and the racist or quasi-racist remarks in their magazine, or would it be something completely off your radar screen?
You'd have been aware that they existed, absolutely, and you'd have been aware that they were regularly accused of racism.

But here's the thing: the left -- particularly on college campuses -- cries "racist" so often that, if you didn't pay much attention, you would have no way of knowing whether these particular cries were well-founded or just demagoguery. Every conservative publication got attacked; the attacks made no distinction between people who wanted segregated campuses and people who opposed race preferences. Between people who oppose abortion and people who think women are too dumb to vote. Etc., etc.
1.13.2006 11:07pm