Senator Unhappy With Samuel Alito’s Answers About Abortion Memo

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 18, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Senator Unhappy With Samuel Alito’s Answers About Abortion Memo Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 18, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito has been meeting privately with members of the Senate and convincing many of them, including abortion advocates, that he’s worthy of their support. But one senator said Thursday he wasn’t satisfied with Alito’s answers about a 1985 memo in which he said there is no Constitutional right to abortion.

Colorado Senator Ken Salazar, a Democrat who voted to confirm Chief Justice John Roberts, said he has "grave concerns" about Alito and abortion.

He told reporters after his meeting that he wasn’t sure if he could support Alito’s nomination to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Salazar said he was troubled by the memo and also by Alito’s dissent in a 1990 abortion case in which he voted to uphold a Pennsylvania law allowing husbands to know about a potential abortion of his unborn child, a concept Gallup polls show has support of 70 percent of the public.

Salazar told reporters he questioned Alito about the case and "I remain concerned about his answer on that issue" he told reporters, according to a Bloomberg News report. He didn’t explain what Alito told him about the case, but said Alito pointed him to two other abortion cases in which he relied on Supreme Court precedent to reach his decisions.

Ultimately, Salazar said he is concerned that Alito has not changed his views on abortion law since the memo and the appeals court decision.

"I am troubled when I looked at the memo and the fact that I don’t think that his views have changed at all, frankly, in the last 20 years,” Salazar said. "I am concerned that, frankly, the court would swing so far to the right, we can set back the progress of the country.”

"When you read his memo from 1985, it was not like he was 18 or 23 or 25 years old at the time trying to formulate his own opinions,” Salazar said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated to hold hearings on Alito beginning January 9 and Salazar said he may come to a conclusion about how he will vote before then and make an announcement. However, he indicated he probably would not support a filibuster.

"It’s an option out there,” he said, but added "I don’t anticipate that I will be participating in one.”

Salazar is a member of the group of 14 Republican and Democrat lawmakers who struck a compromise earlier this year to allow votes on President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks in exchange for not changing Senate rules to prevent filibusters.

Most of the group appears to be supportive of Alito’s nomination, which would make it more difficult for abortion advocates in the Senate to successfully filibuster him.