« Home | Profound Legal Statements » | I Found Out Why I'm the Healthiest Person I Know » | More on Campaign Finance Reform » | Can Marquette Be Far Behind? » | The Neverending FMLA Attacks on Alito » | * » | I Heard the Word "Salami" Tonight... » | Diamond Jim Strikes Again » | Beer Review: Leinenkugel's Original » | 12th Circuit? » 

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 

Alito and Roe

Bench Memos has brought up two senators and their hearsay evidence about conversations with Alito about Roe.
Sen. Joe Lieberman says that Judge Alito told him Roe "was precedent on which people, a lot of people, relied, and had been precedent now for decades and therefore deserved great respect." Sen. Lieberman calls this "encouraging."

Sen. Susan Collins reports that, in reference to Roe, "he assured me that he has tremendous respect for precedent and that his approach is not to overturn cases due to a disagreement with how they were originally decided."

What does this all mean? No one knows for sure, but speculation is lots of fun. Alito's second hand statements seem to be similar to those of Chief Justice Roberts during his confirmation process. I think that people read anything into these statements what they want. If you support Roe, you might think that this is a signal that Alito won't overrule it. If you oppose Roe, this looks like a bunch of meaningless language praising precedent that Alito is throwing out to keep the Democrats off his back. If you oppose Alito because he hasn't made any statement that he would overturn Roe, you see this as validation of those fears. These statements are everything to everyone.

Honestly, I don't think that the Supreme Court will ever overturn Roe. The only way that I see it happening would be in an overwhelming vote opposing it (6 or 7 votes in the majority). I think the more likely outcome is that more restrictions will be allowed on abortion. Partial birth abortion bans were struck down by the Court 5-4. Justice O'Connor was the 5th vote in that case (Stenberg v Carhart). If the Chief and Alito vote to allow the bans, there will be a 5-4 split the other way. Also, Stenberg is a fairly recent case. If Roberts and Alito are as strong supporters of precedent that many commentators make them out to be, they would be more inclined to overturn the 5 year old Stenberg.

But who knows what will happen? You can't really predict the votes of new Justices, even when looking at their past cases. Being an appellate level judge is not the same as being on the Court. It's going to be interesting to see how Roberts and (soon) Alito will turn out.

have you read my idea on how to depoliticize abortion?

it'd be nice to get your feedback...

It's definitely an intriguing idea. One of the central ideas, taking this issue away from the Court, is an important one. But there is a strong contingent in this country that would not trust the public to vote in the referendum that you described. They simply don't want this to be a democratic issue at any level, even if they get the ceiling that they want. They don't want to risk ANY further restrictions.

I think that there are many people (including our political leaders) who are glad that the Court has made this call for us. It absolves them of facing the difficulty of making major decisions about abortion. Don't get me wrong. I agree that this is an incredibly difficult issue to address. But it's a conversation that I think we need to have.

Post a Comment
Edit Comment

About me

  • I'm Steve
  • From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • "There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." P.J. O'Rourke
  • E-mail Me
My profile