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November 16, 2005

Alito's explanations are getting worse

Last week, the big story on the Alito Supreme Court nomination was his participation in a case involving Vanguard when he apparently told the Senate he wouldn't hear those cases, and his rather half-baked explanation as to why what he said on his Senate questionnaire didn't really mean what it said.

The Vanguard thing is interesting, but it's a bit of a sideshow.  This week has brought something closer to the main event, namely, Alito's 1985 job application in which he cheerfully expresses wholehearted support for the Reagan Justice Department's various efforts to have the Supreme Court overrule Roe v. Wade.

Alito is now, once again, trying to back away from his previously clearly-expressed views.  He has been telling Senators that his 1985 letter was nothing to worry about - just the words of "an advocate seeking a job." 

Sorry, Judge, but that's not going to cut it.  Alito told his would-be employers in the Reagan administration that the view that the Constitution does not protect a right to abortion was a "legal position[] in which I personally believe very strongly."  So ... was he lying in his job application?  Or has something happened in the last 20 years that has made him abandon his "very strong" belief in that view?

The most disturbing thing about this development is that, really, Alito is now in the midst of another elaborate job application.  And if what he said then wasn't indicative of what he really believed, but rather of what he thought his employers wanted to hear, why shouldn't everyone assume that he's playing the same game now?  According to the NYT, Senator Kennedy (D-MA) has picked up on this: "And so I asked him, 'Why shouldn't we consider the answers that you're giving today an application for another job?' "  Indeed.  Like I said before, these confirmation hearings should tell us a great deal more than recent confirmation hearings have been able to do.

Posted by David at 10:11 AM in Law and Lawyers | Permalink

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