This article appeared in the May 10, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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‘We, the undersigned Princeton women’: Alito’s classmates weigh in on draft

Jim Young/Reuters/File
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito is seen during a group portrait session for the new full court at the Supreme Court in Washington, Nov. 30, 2018.
Linda Feldmann
Washington Bureau Chief

“We, the undersigned Princeton women of ’72, have been deeply shocked by the leaked Supreme Court draft authored by our classmate Justice Samuel Alito.”

So begins a letter to be published Wednesday in The Daily Princetonian, the university’s student newspaper. It represents but one of myriad reactions to the draft decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old precedent establishing the nationwide right to abortion.

But for these Princetonians, among the first women to graduate from the Ivy League school, the draft opinion felt extra personal: Many knew Mr. Alito back in the day – some from the Stevenson Hall “eating club,” and at least one as a good friend, the kind who would engage him in deep philosophical debate.

Susan Squier, the letter’s organizer, who knew Mr. Alito from their eating club, recalls him as “earnest.” At least, she allows, “he chose to be in Stevenson, which was nonselective, and not one of the elitist clubs.”

Now, Ms. Squier, a professor emeritus of English and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Pennsylvania State University, can’t conceal her anger over the societal earthquake that appears imminent.

“We ask our classmates, and the community of Princeton, to protest the logic that ties us to a constitutional originalism which resists any movement toward justice but, rather, moves us backwards,” the letter states.

Of the some 47 women in the class of ’72 who are still alive, more than half signed the letter. Among the signers is Vera Marcus, the first Black woman to graduate from Princeton.

“Wouldn’t it be lovely if [the letter] got picked up and went viral, and there was a sense of groundswell among classmates of Sam Alito,” Ms. Squier says, noting their 50th reunion is May 21. “At least this got the women in my class pretty galvanized and reconnected through our feminism.”

This article appeared in the May 10, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 05/10 edition
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