Senators Talk More About Samuel Alito and Letter Opposing Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senators Talk More About Samuel Alito and Letter Opposing Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Yesterday, several senators talked about their private meetings with Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and his responses to their questions about a 1985 letter he wrote saying he thought there was no abortion right in the Constitution. Alito played down the letter but did not commit to upholding Roe v. Wade if confirmed.

Pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy was one senator to meet with Alito and he said he was troubled by the contents of the letter. He said Alito told him he has a more mature view of law now than he did 20 years ago.

"He indicated that he’s an older person, that he’s learned more, that he thinks he’s a wiser person, that he’s got a better grasp and understanding about constitutional rights and liberties," Kennedy told reporters.

Alito told him what he also told Sen. Diane Feinstein, another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the letter showed him angling for a higher job within the Reagan administration.

Kennedy said he responded by asking, "Why shouldn’t we consider that the answers that you’re giving today are an application for another job?"

Pro-abortion Sen. Jef Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat, also talked more about the conversation he had with Alito.

"He indicated that that was 20 years ago and it was a job application, and since being on the (appeals) court, he has participated in several decisions related to having an abortion," Bingaman said, according to an AP report. "He thinks that those decisions are what he should be judged on."

Pro-life groups say that’s fine because they want a judge who will interpret the law, and not make it as the court did with regard to abortion in 1973.

Fidelis President Joseph Cella explained, "Judge Alito made an important distinction in his meeting with Senator Feinstein. He explained that in 1985 he was pursuing a political job where his personal views were relevant. For the past 15 years, he has served as a circuit court judge where his personal views play no role. His distinguished record of applying the law in an evenhanded and unbiased manner is what is truly significant."

Meanwhile, Feinstein reported that Alito would not tell her that Roe v. Wade was "well-settled," which would indicated he would be open to overturning the decision.

At the same time, AP reports that he told her a precedent gains strength the longer it’s been in place.

"I said, ‘Can you think of any Supreme Court decision that has had more opportunity to be overturned or modified?’" Feinstein said. "And he thought for a moment and he said, ‘No, I can’t.’"