Speaking to D. Brooks Smith, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a conversation reported on by the Wall Street Journal, Alito revealed that he used to “test out” ideas on his dog, before he passed away. “Late at night when I was thinking about cases I would test out my ideas with Zeus. He generally agreed with me,” he said.
Alito also revealed that if he was stuck on a particularly difficult case, he had a “special way” of making a decision. “I put the red [respondent’s] brief over here and the blue [petitioner’s] brief over there, equal distance from Zeus, and I’d put a few dog treats on both. Then I would let Zeus go,” he said. “If he went to blue brief, then we would reverse.”