He was nominated by President George W. Bush on October 31, 2005, and has served since January 31, 2006. He is the second Italian-American justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, after Antonin Scalia, and the eleventh Roman Catholic.
In 2013 Alito was considered "one of the most conservative justices on the Court". He has described himself as a "practical originalist". Alito's majority opinions in landmark cases include McDonald v. Chicago, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Murphy v. NCAA, and Janus v. AFSCME.
While Justice Clarence Thomas spent 63 pages in a 6-3 majority opinion Thursday painstakingly explaining the court's reasons for striking down a New York conceal carry gun law and changing the way judges will analyze a host of other gun regulations going forward, his colleague Samuel Alito took a different tack.
The fact that Alito, who joined Thomas' opinion in full, chose to also strike out alone against the dissenters highlights the current tension on the court triggered by a blockbuster docket and the unprecedented leak of a draft majority opinion in May overturning Roe v. Wade.
Already, the liberals and conservatives have openly sparred in opinions. On Tuesday, for instance, Justice Sonia Sotomayor ended one dissent in a religious liberty case that broke down along ideological lines with this warning: "With growing concern for where this Court will lead us next, I respectfully dissent.