Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, will be honored by an organization of Catholic legal professionals in Maryland at an awards banquet hosted by the group at the Grand Historic Venue, located at 225 N. Charles Street in Baltimore.
Alito will be honored by the St. Thomas More Society of Maryland following its 56th annual Red Mass for judges, lawyers and others in the legal profession. Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, will celebrate the Mass on October 30, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.
The custom for a special Mass for lawyers and judges has been celebrated since the mid-13th century to mark the annual opening of the courts and to seek the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in court deliberations. When the custom began, the celebrating priest wore red robes. Conforming to ecclesiastical tradition, the judges of the High Court of England also wore red robes, thereby inspiring the common name by which this votive Mass of the Holy Spirit is now known.
Alito was born in Trenton, New Jersey, April 1, 1950. He married Martha-Ann Bomgardner in 1985, and has two children – Philip and Laura. He served as a law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1976–1977. He was Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1977–1981, Assistant to the Solicitor General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981–1985, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 1985–1987, and U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, 1987–1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. President George W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat January 31, 2006.
St. Thomas More was a 16th century lawyer, judge and diplomat who became the first layman to serve as Lord Chancellor of England, the country’s highest judicial officer. He was martyred under King Henry VIII and canonized in 1935. He is the patron saint of statesmen and politicians.