In my (hopefully) growing wisdom, I work to be less excitable and more inclined to thinking than snap decisions. So, yesterday when I saw the news that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito wrote in 1985 of his adamant disagreement on the constitutional principles underlying legalized abortion, I dismissed it. Not because I particularly worry about his opinions on abortion; I don’t. I’d be more interested in his general belief on the right to privacy. The argument, whether or not Judge Alito agrees with it, that such a right to privacy is not in the Constitution would worry me considerably more. That’s what I want to know. If someone can’t read it within the Ninth Amendment, we should toss out the Constitution. Argue that the right to privacy doesn’t include the right to abortion but not that the state has the right to meddle in personal lives at will to promote some public good. Big difference.
But that’s not how Senate Democrats will use that information, as evidenced by this:
“This puts a much stronger onus on Judge Alito to answer questions on this subject,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who called the 1985 document “the strongest statement we’ve seen from a nominee on this very controversial subject for a long time.”
Want to bet he’ll discuss Judge Alito’s judicial philosophy on interpreting the Constitution? In what I’m choosing to interpret as a glimmer of hope, Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered this review after her meeting with Judge Alito:
“He said first of all it was different then,” she said. “He said, ‘I was an advocate seeking a job, it was a political job and that was 1985. I’m now a judge, I’ve been on the circuit court for 15 years and it’s very different. I’m not an advocate, I don’t give heed to my personal views, what I do is interpret the law.'”
Feinstein, who will be one of the senators questioning Alito at his Jan. 9 confirmation hearing said she thought “he was very sincere in what he said.”
My thinking trumped any snap decision I might’ve arrived at because I came to the “advocate seeking a job” conclusion, as well. It was logical and took little more than a moment and a willingness to learn the truth without concern for scoring political points. I still want the discussion to come up in January’s confirmation hearings, but I don’t expect to be happy with the line of questioning.