Alito Demonstrated Humor, His Ethics; 1997 Speech Lampooned Lawyers

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Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has addressed the Federalist Society multiple times during his long-running membership, and he stuck with dry legal humor during a speech in 1997.

Delivered at the conservative society's national convention, the speech titled "The Crisis in the Legal Profession" focused on the gap between reality and the way criminal lawyers perceive themselves.

The "gladiatorial image is wildly inaccurate," Judge Alito said, citing a national lawyers magazine, which said criminal lawyers see themselves as gladiators fighting the dragons of bureaucracy and the constabulary.

"A more apt image of what actually occurs is two gladiators who march into the arena with their armor and their weapons then promptly throw down their armor, throw down their weapons and go off to a little table in the shade and negotiate a deal," he said.

Federalist Society President Eugene B. Meyer said Judge Alito also moderated a panel discussion on the USA Patriot Act during the organization's 2004 convention, but that the transcript of that discussion was not being released because some panel members had not yet signed off on it.

"His role as a moderator was basically just to introduce people," Mr. Meyer said.

During the 1997 speech, Judge Alito, then a member of the 3rd U. …