Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. has convicted “The Sopranos” of spreading what he says are stereotypes about Italian-Americans.
During a visit to Rutgers University on Wednesday, Alito complained that the hit HBO television drama not only associated Italian-Americans with the Mafia, but New Jerseyans, as well.
“You have a trifecta — gangsters, Italian-Americans, New Jersey — wedded in the popular American imagination,” Alito said at an event sponsored by the Italian studies program at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.
Alito, himself an Italian-American, lived for nearly two decades in a West Caldwell home in the same area of New Jersey where the fictional Tony Soprano lived.
Alito told the gathering of about 100 people that a friend in California once sent him a map of “Sopranos”-related locations. “He wanted me to put down where my house was on the map,” Alito said to laughs.
Too many stereotypes?
Alito’s comments about “The Sopranos,” which went off the air last year, were part of a talk in which the New Jersey native lamented that there are too many stereotypes about Italians in the United States.
He said the real story of Italian people who came here, some succeeding and some failing and going back to Italy, needed to be preserved because it told something about the United States’ “true nature as a nation of immigrants.”
Alito, 57, was born in Trenton, grew up in Hamilton Township and attended Princeton University before going to law school at Yale. Last year, Alito and his wife moved from West Caldwell to northern Virginia to be closer to his new job.
Since taking his seat on the court in January 2006, Alito has generally sided with other conservative members of the court, including fellow Trenton native, Antonin Scalia.