During my second year of law school I met Samuel Alito, who President Bush has nominated to the Supreme Court. I was interviewing for a clerkship with him after I graduated. I arrived at his chambers in Newark, New Jersey after several grueling days of travel. I had flown from Boston to Chicago to Indiana to Arkansas and finally to Newark. At the time two friends of mine, both BYU law graduates, were clerking for Alito, and I arrived early to speak with them. A short time later, Alito called me into his office. He looked somewhat solemn, and then informed me that my wife had just called him to say that my nephew had died. We spoke softly for a few minutes. I told him about Thomas and his brief life, about his parents’ long struggle to have children. Alito listened and spoke softly about sorrow and condolence.
We didn’t end up talking much law or jurisprudence. Ultimately, I clerked for a judge in Arkansas. However, his concern and grace in our one sad and awkward encounter has stuck with me. I have a clear memory of a warm and decent person.