"... that had just been installed on campus, warming up chocolate-chip cookies while talking about Italy and the philosopher John Rawls. Kelikian, who dated one of Alito’s friends, noted that Alito was always 'very respectful of me,' adding, 'A lot of male classmates were not.' Still, feminism was in the air...."
In 1973, the year after Alito graduated...
The year I graduated from college.
.... the Supreme Court issued its Roe
decision. Kelikian, now a history professor at Brandeis University, told me, “Sam was Trenton Italian and I was Chicago Armenian.” That felt to her like some sort of commonality, but they had different attitudes toward the tight-knit, convention-bound immigrant communities from which they’d emerged. She felt that she was breaking away from hers; he remained tethered to his.
Tethered! Imagine what word would be used against him if he were the one breaking away from his own ethnic group.
Alito later told an interviewer for the National Italian American Foundation that he couldn’t relate to his peers’ view that their elders had “become affluent by taking advantage of other people—they had bad values, they were very materialistic.” Alito went on, “I thought that whole view of my parents—of the generation to which my parents belonged—was false. Perhaps it was true of some people in that generation, but certainly it wasn’t true of the people that I knew.”
That wasn't just about Italian Americans. It was the general Baby Boomer attitude in the early 70s, eager to be completely different from our woefully misguided parents.
At his Supreme Court confirmation hearings, he described his New Jersey suburb as a stronghold of traditional values that felt safe.
At Princeton, he said, he saw some “very privileged people behaving irresponsibly, and I couldn’t help making a contrast between some of the worst of what I saw on the campus and the good sense and the decency of some of the people back in my own community.”...
For Alito, Yale Law School, too, was mined with countercultural bombs. In 2005, a member of Alito’s class, Diane Kaplan, told the Yale Daily News that “a lot of us were hippies, love children, political dissenters, draft dodgers.” She noted that Alito and his Princeton friends “came to class with buttoned-down collars and looking very serious.”...
Alito had come to Yale eager to study with one of his intellectual heroes, Alexander Bickel, a charismatic and prolific scholar who believed that the Warren Court had indulged in egregious activism. But Alito wasn’t placed in Bickel’s constitutional-law class. Alito’s friend Mark Dwyer, meanwhile, was assigned to the staunchly conservative scholar Robert Bork’s course, and he later told the Times that Alito had seemed jealous. In one of the worst pairings of student and professor in course-scheduling history, Alito ended up with Charles Reich, the eccentric counterculture guru who had written the best-selling manifesto “The Greening of America.”...
The New Yorker devoted an entire issue to a long excerpt of that book, thus promoting it as uniquely important.
Alito, having read the book, formally requested to switch out of the class, but he was told no.
Reich loved flower-child sensibilities as much as Alito hated them—he saw even bell-bottoms as a form of rebellion worth validating....
"He" meaning Reich, of course. I found the bell-bottoms in the 1970 issue of The New Yorker, at page 106, linked above:
The sentence continues on the next page: "... its doctrines of honesty and responsibility. The Establishment cannot safely swallow those." I think what the text there is saying is that the bell-bottom style can be copied and coopted — that's "coöpted" for us New Yorker readers — by the establishment, but the true rebellion — that which cannot be coopted/coöpted is all the abstract stuff — liberation, search for self, honesty — that belongs in a special way to the people Reich called "Consciousness III." So Reich wasn't "validating" the rebellion of bell-bottoms — as this new article puts it. He was dismissing the pants as what the Establishment could — ridiculous image intended — swallow.
The new article continues:
Many students were charmed and inspired by Reich: Bill and Hillary Clinton both studied with him. (When Bill Clinton became President, one of his environmental initiatives was called the Greening of the White House.) Alito was not one of those students. In appearances and interviews, he has spoken disparagingly of Reich’s “most bizarre course.” Reich, Alito said, told his students that he “had a ticket to San Francisco in his desk and at some point during the term it was possible that there would be a note on the bulletin board that he had gone to San Francisco, and the course would then be over.” Alito recalled that, sure enough, he returned from Thanksgiving break to find just such a note. He joked... that he was “self-taught” in constitutional law....