Senator Charles Grassley met privately this week with Samuel Alito, the judge President Bush has nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Grassley told Alito about a conversation he recently had with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Thomas has been on the court for 15 years, but Grassley says Thomas was only approved on a 52 to 48 vote after controversy erupted over sexist remarks Thomas allegedly made to a former colleague. “(Thomas) was nominated in July…and he said ‘Chuck, remember I wasn’t controversial ’til October,'” Grassley says, chuckling. “So I told Alito that, and he says ‘Yea, it worries me.”

Grassley’s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that will hold hearings on Alito’s nomination, and Grassley met with Alito for about 45 minutes this past Wednesday. Grassley told Alito the kinds of questions he will pose during that hearing.

Grassley says he’ll ask Alito about the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which spells out state powers and how Alito interprets the commerce clause in the U.S. constitution. Grassley says he’s reviewing the three-hundred opinions Alito has written as judge, too.