Poll: Americans Want to Know John Roberts’ Stance on Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Poll: Americans Want to Know John Roberts’ Stance on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 21, 2005

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new poll conducted by the Associated Press shows a slight majority of Americans want to know where Supreme Court nominee John Roberts stands on abortion before making up their mind on whether to support President Bush’s first pick for the high court.

Some 52 percent of those polled say Roberts should disclose his position on abortion during hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee and 41 percent say he should not.

Women were more likely to be interested in his abortion position with a 60-40 percent split favoring senators asking him about it. Just 43 percent of men say he should be questioned about abortion.

Most of the people surveyed, about 59 percent, say they don’t know enough about Roberts yet to form an opinion. However, those who gave their opinion of the Supreme Court nominee favor him by a 25 to 14 percent margin.

Overall, the public favors his nomination by a 47 to 24 percent margin, according to the AP-Ipsos poll. The rest were undecided.

As Principal Deputy Solicitor General during the first Bush administration, Roberts played an active role in efforts to limit abortion.

Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court that "[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. [T]he Court’s conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion … finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

Some Senate Democrats have said they want to ask Roberts whether that remark reflects his own views on abortion or whether he was simply writing to represent the views of the president.

Sen. Pat Leahy, the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, told CNN, "We have right now the most activist Supreme Court I’ve seen in my lifetime. … So I’m going to ask him are you going to be part of that same activist coalition, overturning settled law, rewriting the law yourself? And, among those, of course, is going to be Roe v. Wade."

Other Democrats want copies of memos that may have been a part of drafting the document and could shed more light on Roberts’ views.

Justice Department officials declined to say whether they would turn over the documents.

The AP poll was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday by international polling firm Ipsos of 752 adults and has a 3.5 percent margin of error.