Samuel Alito Says Abortion Does Not Appear in the Constitution

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Samuel Alito Says Abortion Does Not Appear in the Constitution

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 11, 2006

Washington, DC ( — During a particularly terse round of questions on the second day of hearings on Judge Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, leading pro-abortion Sen. Chuck Schumer took every approach possible to draw more information about his views on abortion. Schumer eventually found himself in an embarrassing moment with Alito telling him abortion appears nowhere in the Constitution.

Schumer, a Democrat, hoped to trick Alito into discussing abortion by getting him to discuss rights actually found in the Constitution.
SCHUMER: Does the Constitution protect the right to free speech?

ALITO: Certainly it does. That’s in the First Amendment.

SCHUMER: So why can’t you answer the question of: Does the Constitution protect the right to an abortion the same way without talking about stare decisis, without talking about cases, et cetera?

ALITO: Because answering the question of whether the Constitution provides a right to free speech is simply responding to whether there is language in the First Amendment that says that the freedom of speech and freedom of the press can’t be abridged. Asking about the issue of abortion has to do with the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution.

Schumer was flustered by the response and told Alito he didn’t expect the appeals court judge to answer his questions on abortion.

In his questioning of Alito, pro-life Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, asked Alito again about abortion and the Constitution and Alito again said abortion does not appear in the text of the Constitution.

CORNYN: And I just want to explore, to start with, Senator Schumer’s questions about what is written in this Constitution about abortion. Does the word abortion appear anywhere in the Constitution?

ALITO: No. The word that appears in the Constitution is liberty.

CORNYN: And outside of let’s say the Fourth Amendment, perhaps, does the right to privacy appear explicitly stated in the Constitution?

ALITO: There is no express reference to privacy in the Constitution. But it is protected by the Fourth Amendment and in certain circumstances by the First Amendment and in certain circumstances by the Fifth and the 14th Amendments.

CORNYN: And the reason it’s protected is because the Supreme Court has so interpreted the Constitution. Isn’t that correct, sir?

ALITO: That’s correct. It’s a question of interpretation rather than simply looking at what is in the text of the document.

CORNYN: So to ask you whether the right to free speech, which is explicitly protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, ask you whether that’s in there, and then to ask you in the same question or at least same series of questions whether the right to abortion on demand is in the Constitution, one is explicitly stated in the First Amendment. The other is the product of court interpretation. Isn’t that accurate, sir?

ALITO: Yes. That’s my view of it.