by Joseph A. D’Agostino
November 8, 2005
LifeNews.com Note: The former Associate Editor of Human Events, Joseph A. D’Agostino is Vice President for Communications at the Population Research Institute.
Washington’s conservative and pro-life activists are almost uniformly pleased with the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito as the replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Alito has a long record of intelligent, conservative, by-the-text interpretation of the Constitution and law that promises an excellent Supreme Court justice.
Yet a few pro-lifers point to cases in which Alito did not rule in a pro-life direction. I believe their criticism rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of judges’ proper role.
Alito, nicknamed “Scalito” for the similarity between his judicial philosophy and that of current Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is Catholic and married with two children. He would be the fifth Catholic on the Supreme Court, putting Catholics in the majority on the court for the first time—though one of those Catholics, Justice Anthony Kennedy, issues rulings that have nothing to do with the Catholic faith, the Constitution, or anything other than the opinions of the fashionable elite people that his weak mind finds itself among.
Alito’s mother Rose told the Associated Press, “Of course he’s against abortion.” That’s a positive sign, but he could be one of those personally-opposed-but-type Catholics such as Sen. John Kerry. And some people who know Alito are saying he has such respect for precedent that he will not agree to overturn Roe v. Wade. The same could still be true of new Chief Justice John Roberts.
So how do we know Alito would rule to overturn Roe and other precedents of grave concern to pro-family Americans, such as those severely restricting religious freedom? The fact is, we don’t. As far as is known publicly, Alito has never promised to overturn Roe, and he certainly won’t between now and the Senate vote on his confirmation expected January 20.
Disturbingly, the New York Times reports that Alito told far-left Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) that the judicially depraved William Brennan was one of his favorite Supreme Court justices. Let’s hope Alito meant he liked Brennan’s personality.
What we do know is that Alito has had a strong, career-long reputation for strict interpretation of the Constitution and law, and that conservative legal experts agree that he has abided by that philosophy in his 15 years as a federal appeals court judge. He is a former prosecutor who worked for conservative, pro-life President Ronald Reagan. For at least 15 years, he has been a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative-libertarian lawyers’ group that advocates interpreting the Constitution rather than making it up.
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