November 14, 2005
Alito and choice
So it turns out that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito said, on a 1985 job application, that he didn't believe that the Constitution should protect a right to abortion. The relevant sentence is this:
I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to abortion.
He described his work on those cases as a "source of personal satisfaction," and as "legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly."
Of course, this revelation does not necessarily mean that Alito would vote to overrule Roe v. Wade. But it does seem to be pretty good evidence that (1) he believes Roe was wrongly decided; and (2) he thought it was appropriate for the government to be urging that it be overruled. So you'd have to say that the case for Alito being a vote to overrule Roe is a good deal stronger today than it was yesterday.
These ought to be excellent confirmation hearings - and I actually mean that. Unlike John Roberts, whose paper trail was ambiguous and, in some respects, thin, which allowed Roberts to say relatively little, Alito has basically nowhere to hide. He's going to be asked the big, hard questions, and he will have to answer them - if he doesn't, he shouldn't be confirmed. These hearings might actually serve the purpose they're supposed to serve - telling the Senate, and the public, something about where a judicial nominee stands on important issues - rather than turning into an elaborate but ultimately pointless dance.
I'm withholding judgment on Alito until the hearings. I encourage others to do the same.
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