by Steven Ertelt
November 14, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life advocates were pleased to learn about the contents of a letter the White House released on Monday showing Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito telling Reagan administration officials he didn’t think there is a right to abortion in the Constitution.
Jennifer Bingham, director of the Susan B. Anthony List, applauded the news of the document and said she was sure it would mobilize abortion advocates to work to defeat Alito.
"A nominee with these outstanding qualifications deserves a fair up or down vote on the Senate floor, but pro-abortion Senators and groups are working around the clock to make sure he doesn’t get one," Bingham indicated.
In the letter, Alito says he enjoyed fighting for the legal principles of the administration and named opposing abortion as one of those principles. He also argues for a very limited judicial role — the kind of judicial philosophy that would uphold most pro-life laws.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, which supports Alito’s nomination, warned abortion advocates in the Senate not to use the document to disqualify Alito from serving on the Supreme Court.
"The fact that Judge Alito criticized the legal underpinnings supporting abortion as a constitutional right should not be used against him in the confirmation process," Sekulow said.
"The statement by Judge Alito mirrors that of the late Supreme Court Justice Byron White, who was appointed by President Kennedy, and the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist," he explained.
"At the same time, the Senate overwhelmingly approved Justices Breyer and Ginsburg after they expressed comments supporting the right to abortion. Even Justice Ginsburg – who supports the right to abortion — has questioned the legal underpinnings of Roe v. Wade," Sekulow added.
Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said he wasn’t sure whether the document made it certain Alito would vote against Roe v. Wade once confirmed to the Supreme Court.
"I think he would put — and he did put — his personal opinions aside," Kristol said of court decisions Alito handed down following that statement as a member of a federal appeals court in the 1990s.
"In a couple opinions, he ruled against a pro-life type result when he thought Supreme Court precedence compelled him to go the other way," Kristol said.
Those decisions have been the subject of significant debate within the pro-life community as to whether they show Alito won’t vote to overturn Roe or merely show him upholding Supreme Court precedents as lower courts are expected to do.
Kristol agreed with Sekulow that the document should disqualify Alito from service on the high court.
"If they [opponents] want to have that debate, I think a lot of conservatives will say fine, let’s have that debate," Kristol told Fox News.