If we're to believe the latest spin coming from Washington, Samuel Alito is "soft" on Roe v. Wade and is unlikely to overturn it.
"He basically said . . . that Roe was precedent on which people -- a lot of people -- relied, and been precedent now for decades and therefore deserved great respect," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) told reporters after meeting with Alito yesterday. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she had a similar conversation about an hour later with Alito, who has made clear that he personally opposes abortion.
"I asked him whether it made a difference to him if he disagreed with the initial decision but it had been reaffirmed several times since then," Collins told reporters. "I was obviously referring to Roe in that question. He assured me that he has tremendous respect for precedent and that his approach is to not overturn cases due to a disagreement with how they were originally decided."
Collins, Lieberman and others cautioned that they did not directly ask Alito if he would vote to overturn Roe , and that his comments should not be seen as a guarantee of how he may rule. But the conversations appear to be building Alito's resistance to what might be the biggest impediment to his confirmation: liberals' claims that he is a threat to legalized abortion, which most Americans support, according to opinion polls.
As a moderate Republican who supports abortion rights, Collins is viewed as pivotal to any serious bid to block Alito. She is a member of the bipartisan "Gang of 14," which has agreed to oppose a filibuster unless the nomination involves "extraordinary circumstances." After meeting with Alito, Collins said: "At this point, I see no basis for invoking 'extraordinary circumstances' and for anyone to mount a filibuster."
Your elected representatives have weighed the man, and found him acceptable on the basis of "respect" for Roe.
We're all supposed to believe it.
But look who's not buying it:
However, pro-life advocates say Alito, who has been nominated to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, would be likely to overturn Roe and are not concerned about his comments saying he respects Supreme Court precedent.
â€œWhere he's had some wiggle room to examine the fact and apply facts to the law, he's shown a propensity to allow states to regulate abortion," says Hausknecht of Focus on the Family Action.
Most pro-life groups support Alito and say that he had to follow Supreme Court precedent as an appeals court judge but would be free to overturn cases like Roe if confirmed to the high court. They expected Alito to give similar responses as Chief Justice John Roberts, who explained in detail how and why long-standing Supreme Court precedents could be overturned.
Yet a few pro-lifers point to cases in which Alito did not rule in a pro-life direction. I believe their criticism rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of judgesâ€™ proper role.
Alito, nicknamed â€œScalitoâ€? for the similarity between his judicial philosophy and that of current Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is Catholic and married with two children. He would be the fifth Catholic on the Supreme Court, putting Catholics in the majority on the court for the first timeâ€”though one of those Catholics, Justice Anthony Kennedy, issues rulings that have nothing to do with the Catholic faith, the Constitution, or anything other than the opinions of the fashionable elite people that his weak mind finds itself among.
Alitoâ€™s mother Rose told the Associated Press, â€œOf course he's against abortion.â€?
And from Focus on Family:
Judge Samuel Alito's former colleagues say the Supreme Court nominee will move the court to the right, but stop short of overturning Roe v. Wade -- a view shared by many pro-life organizations.
The issue, such groups say, is that even with Alito on the Court, there likely would not be a majority of justices opposed to Roe. But Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, said a high court with Alito in the mix would succeed in chipping away at abortion rights.
"What you do have, if you add Alito to the court, would be five votes to uphold a ban on partial-birth abortion," she told Family News in Focus.
News accounts in recent days have cited several decisions in which Alito appears to side with abortion advocates, but Focus on the Family Action Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht said that was while the judge was bound by Supreme Court precedent.
"Where he's had some wiggle room to examine the fact and apply facts to the law," Hausknecht explained, "he's shown a propensity to allow states to regulate abortion."
And then, of course, there's the Crusader chorus.
They seem quite certain. So why are the Dems (again) so wishy washy?