Free Dartmouth
11/15/2005 07:35:00 PM | Justin

Which is it, Samuel Alito? (link)
The latest indication that abortion will play a major role in the confirmation hearings comes from a 1985 document written by Judge Alito.

At the time, Mr. Alito was seeking a promotion in the Justice Department under President Ronald Reagan. In the document, Mr. Alito wrote that had been proud to argue on the government's behalf that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a woman's right to abortion, a view he said he personally believed in very strongly.
So apparently in '85, Judge Alito, personally believed the US constitution didn't support abortion. But now, Judge Alito is trying disown those views:
"[He said to me] I am now a judge, you know, I have been on the circuit court for 15 years and it is very different. I am not an advocate. I do not give heed to my personal views," she said."
The interesting thing about his defense is that it does not even suggest he might support abortion rights: OK Alito, so you don't "give heed to [your] person views". But in '85 you said it was your personal view that "the constitution" does not support the right to an abortion. So conservatives trying to shoe Alito onto the Supreme court can't fairly claim that by strictly interpreting the constitution, Alito will be able to rule on abortion issues impartially. Maybe if he'd said "it's my personal view that abortion is wrong", conservatives might have had a case, but if the guy comes into the judgeship with the pre-established opinion of what the constitution says on this issue, I don't see how he could possibly be an impartial arbiter on the issue. If it were a jury trial, and a jurer had expressed a pre-established opinion of this sort, they'd never be allowed to be a juror. I'm not sure whether the same standard offically applies here, but it seems like it should, especially on such a contentious issue as abortion.

Also, Alito's supporters can't claim as they did for Roberts that Alito was "doing his job" by expessing anti-abortion opinions, because in this case, a) Alito had not received the job yet b) Alito explicitly says this is his personal view, which is different from simply justifying a view. It sounds to me like Alito is trying to suggest the possibility he may have been lying back then just to get a job: Not the most persuasive or respectable case. The sad part is, liberals might have been better off passing the less experience Harriet Miers, rather than the more experienced Alito, who clearly holds such views.

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