Mrs. Alito Makes Nice With Ralph Neas
Folks who attended this week's book party for ABC News Supreme Court correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg couldn't believe their eyes when they saw Martha Ann Alito all chummy and chatty with liberal judicial activist Ralph Neas, who fought tooth and nail (to no avail) to keep Justice Samuel Alito off the High Court.
The Who's Who among judicial Washington at Wednesday night's Metropolitan Club event were astounded to see Mrs. Alito dragging her new cocktail party buddy over to meet her hubby. But nobody was more surprised than Neas himself.
He said "Martha literally ran up to me" saying, "we have friends in common." Mrs. Alito reminded Neas that he and the Alitos had both attended the wedding in 1982 of their mutual friends Judy Hammerschmidt (who at one time served as a special assistant to Attorney General Edwin Meese) and Hank Hankla. (Another nugget for the "small world" and "strange bedfellows" file: Neas and I. "Scooter" Lewis Libby both served as ushers at that wedding.)
Twenty-five years later, Martha Ann and Ralph, even after that bit of unpleasantness with Ralph trying to stick a knife in Martha's husband's back, were like peas and carrots. They chatted on and on, realizing that they truly are all God's children. The Alitos and the Neases belong to the same church -- A Blessed Sacrament in Chevy Chase.
"She was just delightful," Neas said of his new friend.
Then, Martha asked Ralph if he'd like to meet her husband. "I said, 'The question, Martha, is not whether I'd like to see Sam again, it's whether he'd like to see me,'" Neas said.
"Well, you're going to see one another in church, you'd better do it now," Neas quoted Mrs. Alito as saying.
Neas says Justice Alito had a "rather surprised look on his face" when his wife came over with Ralph Neas in tow. The justice joked to his wife, "And I thought you had gone to get me a glass of wine!" (Oh no, dear, just the man who tried to railroad your career.)
As is the cocktail way in political Washington, the former enemies couldn't have been more amicable. And at the end of the party, Mrs. Alito shouted, "See you in church, Ralph."
Crawford said it best in her own book, "Supreme Conflict." Martha Ann Alito is the "kind of person who meets a new friend every day," Crawford wrote.
And she's a pistol, to boot.
Two weeks ago, on the one-year anniversary of her meltdown at her husband's confirmation hearing, we hear Mrs. Alito showed up to lunch with friends at the Tabard Inn restaurant wearing her infamous "baby blue blanket" sweater that she wore when she ran weeping from the Judiciary Committee hearing room. It was an intentional joke, sources say. "She's unswayed by criticism," said one insider who knows Mrs. Alito well.
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