[JURIST] While serving as an assistant to the solicitor general during the Reagan administration, US Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [official profile; JURIST news archive] advocated a gradual challenge to the fringes of Roe v. Wade, rather than an all-out assault on the landmark abortion ruling, according to documents [National Archives list] released Wednesday. In a memo [PDF text], Alito called for a policy of "mitigating" the effects of the decision by urging the Supreme Court to allow increased state regulation of abortions, in particular the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, part of which was struck down by the Third Circuit. Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer [official website] called the memo "shocking," and questioned whether Alito would be objective in deciding such cases if confirmed to the Court, a criticism rejected by a White House spokesman. Alito has expressed "great respect" for the precedent of Roe, according to senators who met with him, although he stopped short of promising to uphold a constitutional right to abortion. Also Wednesday, Alito submitted a 64-page response [JURIST document] to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, in which he said judges must guard against judicial activism. His confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin January 9. AP has more.