Samuel Alito - Early Life and Education

Early Life and Education

Alito was born in Trenton, New Jersey, to Italian American parents: Italian immigrant Samuel A. Alito, Sr., and the former Rose Fradusco. Alito's father, now deceased, was a high school teacher and then became the first Director of the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services, a position he held from 1952 to 1984. Alito's mother is a retired schoolteacher.

Alito grew up in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, a suburb of Trenton. He attended Steinert High School in Hamilton Township and graduated from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs with a Bachelor of Arts in 1972 before attending Yale Law School, where he served as editor on the Yale Law Journal and earned a Juris Doctor in 1975.

At Princeton, Alito led a student conference in 1971 called "The Boundaries of Privacy in American Society" which, among other things, supported curbs on domestic intelligence gathering, called for the decriminalization of sodomy, and urged for an end to discrimination against gays in hiring by employers. He also led the American Whig-Cliosophic Society's Debate Panel during his time at Princeton.

While a sophomore at Princeton, Alito received the low lottery number 32, in a Selective Service drawing on December 1, 1969. In 1970, he became a member of the school's Army ROTC program, attending a six-week basic training camp that year at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in lieu of having been in ROTC during his first two years in college. Alito was a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which was formed in October 1972 at least in part to oppose Princeton's decisions regarding affirmative action. Apart from Alito's written 1985 statement of membership of CAP on a job application, which Alito says was truthful, there is no other documentation of Alito's involvement with or contributions in the group. Alito has cited the banning and subsequent treatment of ROTC by the university as his reason for belonging to CAP.

During his senior year at Princeton, Alito moved out of New Jersey for the first time to study in Italy, where he wrote his thesis on the Italian legal system. Graduating in 1972, Alito left a sign of his lofty aspirations in his yearbook, which said that he hoped to "eventually warm a seat on the Supreme Court."

He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps after his graduation from Princeton and assigned to the United States Army Reserve. Following his graduation from Yale Law School, he served on active duty from September to December 1975. The remainder of his time in the Army was served in the inactive Reserves. He was a Captain when he received an honorable discharge in 1980.

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