Samuel Alito Defends Pro-Life Views Against Abortion in 1985 Memos

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Samuel Alito Defends Pro-Life Views Against Abortion in 1985 Memos Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 10, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter tagged John Roberts with an abortion question at the start of the last hearings on a Supreme Court nominee. On Tuesday, he put the question front and center again wanting to know about Alito’s abortion views and about a memo he wrote saying there is no abortion right.

Responding to the pro-abortion Republican, Alito said he would "approach the question [of abortion] with an open mind."

Alito also discussed his 1985 memos in which he indicated there is no right to an abortion in the Constitution and urged the Reagan administration to use an upcoming Supreme Court case to put in place further restrictions on it.

"That was a correct statement of what I thought in 1985 from my vantage point in 1985, and that was as a line attorney in the Department of Justice in the Reagan administration," Alito said.

In a follow-up question, Alito did not apologize for his pro-life views saying "That was a true expression of my views at the time" and agreeing with Specter that those views against a right to abortion were both his and the Reagan administration’s.

Alito explained that if he is confirmed for the Supreme Court and has a case that comes before him regarding abortion, the first question would be of stare decisis — respect for prior Supreme Court precedents.

Alito said that if the case moved beyond that point, "I would approach the question with an open mind and I would listen to the arguments that were made."

"That was a statement that I made at a prior period of time when I was performing a different role and, as I said yesterday, when someone becomes a judge you really have to put aside the things you did as a lawyer at prior points in your legal career," Alito said.