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Grilled Alito

"Grilled Alito" Continued...

Issue: "What women want," Jan. 21, 2006

Attacking Mr. Alito's integrity based on his membership in CAP loomed large in a Democratic opposition strategy that seemed less able to stir significant controversy-as it has during past confirmation procedures-over the judge's views on abortion. When the committee's discussion did turn to abortion, Mr. Alito testified that he would keep "an open mind" about the issue, and that his 1985 memo "was a true expression of my views at the time."

But the judge also refused to affirm that Roe v. Wade was "settled law," or that it was what Democrats called "super-precedent" or "super-duper-precedent."

"That reminds me of the size of laundry detergent in the supermarket," Mr. Alito said. He emphasized that the job of a Supreme Court justice is "to interpret the Constitution," saying that "the principles don't change," and that a judge should not "add to, subtract from, or distort the Constitution."

Democrats weren't the only ones who made less noise than expected over abortion during the hearings. Pro-life and pro-abortion demonstrators who held press conferences and carried signs in front of the Supreme Court on the first day of the committee's hearings had lost steam by mid-week. Three days into Mr. Alito's confirmation process, the only people left on the high court's steep staircase were two police officers providing routine security.

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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