VETTING HIS OWN WORK?
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. has hired one of the architects of then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's policies to serve as his law clerk at the Supreme Court for the rest of the current term, the court announced yesterday.
Adam G. Ciongoli, 37, ... was an aide to Ashcroft during Ashcroft's years as a senator and then came to the Justice Department, where he advised Ashcroft on terrorism issues in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks....
"Advised" is a rather weak word for what Ciongoli did, according to this Legal Times profile from 2002:
... Ciongoli worked with legal policy chief [Viet] Dinh and others to put together the legislative package that would become the USA Patriot Act -- one of the most sweeping pieces of criminal justice legislation in a generation. Hastily written and negotiated through Congress in a matter of weeks, the Patriot Act grants unprecedented power to law enforcement, drawing criticism that it infringes on constitutional rights.
Ciongoli also began looking at a series of legal questions, ranging from the executive authority to close airports to the treatment of Taliban and al-Qaida detainees under the Geneva Convention.
He was one of four DOJ attorneys principally involved in drafting the administration's order authorizing military commissions to try suspected terrorists and writing the subsequent regulations.
As Jeralyn Merritt notes,
Ciongoli will be tasked with helping Justice Alito write opinions (translation: he will draft them subject to the judge's approval) on many of the same issues on which he previously advocated the Government's position.
Can you spell c-o-n-f-l-i-c-t? Apparently, Justice Alito cannot.
So is Ciongoli going to draft Supreme Court opinions about laws and executive orders he himself helped write?
Oh, and for what it's worth, Ciongoli has also worked for William Bennett (when Bennett was drug czar) and at Kirkland & Ellis under Kenneth Starr, according to Legal Times.