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Posted: 1/3/2006 9:31:09 AM EST
Daily Women's Health Policy

National Politics & Policy | Democrats During Confirmation Hearings To Focus on Alito's Statements on Abortion Rights in 1985 Job Application
[Jan 03, 2006]
Democrats next week during the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito plan to focus on statements he made about abortion rights in a 1985 job application for a position in the Department of Justice, according to committee member Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) and other Democratic strategists, the New York Times reports (Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 1/2). Alito in a 1985 application to become deputy assistant to former Attorney General Edwin Meese wrote that he "personally believe very strongly" in the legal position that abortion is not a constitutionally protected right. Speaking of his service as an assistant to former Solicitor General Rex Lee in the Reagan administration, Alito wrote, "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 an abortion." Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chair of the judiciary committee, last month said Alito identified the statements in the job application as "a personal opinion ... and said that his personal opinion would not be a factor in his judicial decision" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 12/5/05). However, according to some Democrats, the job application offers a glimpse into Alito's judicial philosophy because he is describing his personal analysis of the Constitution and was not representing a client, according to the Times. Democrats will seek to provide evidence that Alito's rulings on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed ideology provided in the application (New York Times, 1/2).

Questions Likely To Focus on Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Senators are expected to "grill" Alito about his dissent in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision, the AP/Yahoo! News reports (Rubinkam, AP/Yahoo! News, 1/3). Alito in the Casey case joined his colleagues on a three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit court in upholding certain provisions of a Pennsylvania law that requires doctors to inform women of the potential "medical dangers" of abortion and alternatives to the procedure, but he dissented from a ruling striking down a provision in the law that would have required married women seeking abortions to first notify their husbands (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 11/7/05). The hearings for Alito to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor are scheduled to begin on Jan. 9 (AP/Yahoo! News, 1/3).

Chicago Tribune Examines Abortion-Rights Emphasis During Senate Hearings
The Chicago Tribune on Thursday examined the emphasis given to abortion rights during Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices in recent decades. Although abortion-rights cases take up "but a fraction of a justice's time," every Supreme Court nominee over the last two decades during his or her hearing has "confronted and deflected scores of questions aimed at whether he [or she] would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade" -- the 1973 case that effectively barred state abortion bans -- the Tribune reports. Nominees of Democratic presidents have been "assumed to support" abortion rights and have been "easily confirmed," while nominees of Republican presidents "walk a minefield, knowing opposition to Roe, or even criticism of it, could doom their chances" of confirmation, according to the Tribune. Senators, organizations and presidents "often guess wrong" on how a nominee would rule on abortion-rights cases because nominees have refused to "telegraph their views" on Roe, knowing it could be reviewed again by the court, according to the Tribune. Although some Democratic senators and groups that support abortion rights have said they will "expand their focus" beyond abortion rights during the confirmation hearings of Alito, "abortion will remain Topic A," the Tribune reports. Some legal analysts say a court with Alito and new Chief Justice John Roberts would be much more likely to constrict the protections provided under Roe rather than overturn the ruling (Crawford Greenburg, Chicago Tribune, 12/29/05).

NPR's "Morning Edition" on Dec. 29, 2005, reported on the documents. The segment includes comments from Tom Goldstein, a lawyer who teaches Supreme Court litigation at Harvard University and Stanford University (Stamberg, "Morning Edition," NPR, 12/29/05). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.

PBS' "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" also reported on the 1985 documents. The segment includes comments from Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University and legal affairs editor at the New Republic; and Stuart Taylor, a columnist with National Journal and a fellow at the Brookings Institution (Suarez, "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," PBS, 12/29/05). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:32:49 AM EST
I had wondered what happend to Alito. Have not heard a thing for weeks.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:35:23 AM EST
God forbid a Supreme Court Justice have ever had a personal opinion on anything.

Personally, I don't care if a nominee believes with all of his heart that the moon landings were faked, as long has he rules in accordance with the Constitution.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:35:43 AM EST
Their party is defined by a single issue.

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:41:48 AM EST
This just in....

Democrats are stupid.

Story developing...
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:42:59 AM EST
I hope it gets overturned. Regardless of emotions and if abortion is right or wrong, basing the "right" on the 14th Amendment and "right to privacy" is rediculous.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:46:31 AM EST
Exactly there one issue on Alito- ABORTION!

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:49:50 AM EST

Originally Posted By Brohawk:
Their party is defined by a single issue.



Democrats the party of defeat.
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 9:50:28 AM EST
He should say, "My personal feelings on the issue are irrelevant. My decisions from the bench will be guided by the Constitution."

That will terrify the liberals!
Link Posted: 1/3/2006 12:32:29 PM EST
May not all be about abortion either... check this out:

Two Democratic aides briefed on his meeting with Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said that when the senator pressed him about an opinion he had written involving the regulation of machine guns, Judge Alito grew defensive - something else Chief Justice Roberts never did. The aides, speaking anonymously because the meeting was private, said the episode led them to hope he might lose his cool in front of the committee, as well.


Background: armsandthelaw.com/archives/2005/10/alito_and_guns.php

Link Posted: 1/3/2006 12:57:00 PM EST
Will C-SPAN cover the hearings?

I want to see Schumer and Alito duke it out over machineguns!

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