by Steven Ertelt
December 8, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The head of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he expected the hearings on Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination to be longer and more intense than those of John Roberts because of more controversy about Alito’s position on abortion.
Sen. Arlen Specter, a pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican, says Alito will answer more questions than Roberts, they will be in more detail, and the hearings may go on longer than originally planned.
How successful Alito’s nomination will be depends on "how credible he is" during his hearings, which begin January 9th, Specter said.
"His nomination faces some real hurdles," Specter told Washington Post editors in an hour-long interview.
Specter said members of the judicial panel will not allow Alito to sidestep as many questions as they allowed Roberts to dodge. That’s because Alito has 15 years of judicial opinions to account for and two memos that clearly put him on record opposing a right to abortion.
The memos, written while Alito served in the Reagan administration, show the current federal appeals court judge seeking a higher position within the Justice Department and advising the Solicitor General on an abortion case at the Supreme Court.
In both memos, Alito says there is no abortion right in the Constitution and seeks ways to limit abortions until Roe is overturned. He said he enjoyed fighting for pro-life values while working for President Reagan.
Specter has already said he would begin the hearings, as he did with Roberts, pressing Alito on his abortion views.
"There are a lot of big, big issues that he has to answer, but this is the one which has captured the public’s imagination," Specter told the Post about abortion.
He hopes to be able to get Alito to commit to uphold Roe, though the nominee can’t say that. Alito is expected to follow Roberts’ lead and say that he respects Supreme Court precedent but won’t comment on upholding or overturning the controversial Roe v. Wade ruling.