A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Monday, November 14, 2005

"The Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion"

AP: Documents Reveal Alito's Abortion View---

WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wrote in 1985 that he was proud of his Reagan-era work helping the government argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," documents showed Monday.

Alito, who was applying in 1985 to become deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, boasted in a document that he helped "to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly."

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," he said.

The document was included in more than 100 pages of material about Alito released by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library on Monday.
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"Unlike Chief Justice John Roberts, Alito says these are his own strong personal views, and not just those of the administration he was working for," said Ralph Neas, head of the liberal People for the American Way. "Combined with his judicial record, Judge Alito's letter underscores our concern that he would vote to turn back the clock on decades of judicial precedent protecting privacy, equal opportunity, religious freedom, and so much more."

Alito's supporters say the judge's statement from 1985 shouldn't be held against him.

"For pro-choice extremists and other liberal activists to say that this legal statement by Judge Alito in 1985 somehow disqualifies him from serving as a Supreme Court justice is absurd," said Wendy Long, lawyer for the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network. "Justice (Ruth Bader) Ginsburg and Justice (Stephen) Breyer had taken clear public positions to the contrary, and no one argued that those positions should be held against them."

In the document, Alito also declared himself a "lifelong registered" Republican and a Federalist Society member, and said he had donated money to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Conservative Political Action Committee and several GOP candidates.

When he wrote this document, he was working as an assistant to the solicitor general, where he stayed from 1981 to 1987. Although he sought the job of deputy assistant attorney general in 1985, he did not win that job until 1987.

"I am and always have been a conservative and an adherent to the same philosophical views that I believe are central to this administration," Alito said.

Alito wrote that he believed "very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values."