Former colleagues praise Alito's legal acumen and quiet affability, but describe him as essentially apolitical. He is registered as a Republican in West Caldwell, N.J., but Federal Election Commission records dating to 1983-84 show no campaign contributions in his or his wife's name. Even longtime neighbors said he was so reticent that some on the block didn't know he was a judge.
"Summertime, in the backyard, we would have barbecues and would never, ever talk about anything involving his work or politics," said Alex Panzano, who lives across the street from the Alitos in the Newark suburb.
Even in high school:
Alito was a talented debater and enjoyed the intellectual sparring involved. But even then, he recoiled from anything resembling inflexible ideology. His scrawled yearbook message to [fellow debater Victor McDonald] ribbed the classmate about his politics: "Who will replace you next year as [Steinert High School's] biggest reactionary? I doubt anybody can be as FAR RIGHT as you."
In college, there's something quite interesting:
While at Princeton, Alito staked out a rare, provocative position while chairing a student conference on the "boundaries of privacy in American society." He wrote a report that recommended the repeal of laws that made sex between gays a crime and urged new antidiscrimination laws for gays in the workplace.