A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Reagan-era documents give insight into Alito abortion views

[JURIST] A document [PDF text] released Monday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library reveal that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito [White House profile; US News profile] wrote in 1985 that he was proud of helping the government argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Part of more than 100 pages on Alito [Reagan library documents; Bush library documents] released by the libraries Monday, the letter was related to Alito's attempt to secure the job of deputy assistant attorney general in 1985. He moved to the position in 1987. In the document Alito also wrote that he was "particularly proud of [his] contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed." Ralph Neas, head of the liberal People for the American Way [advocacy website; press release] said that the document "underscores our concern that he would vote to turn back the clock on decades of judicial precedent protecting privacy, equal opportunity, religious freedom, and so much more." Wendy Long, who works with the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network [advocacy website; press release] noted that Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Breyer had "taken clear public positions to the contrary, and no one argued that those positions should be held against them." AP has more.

In related news, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas [official profile, PDF] said Friday that "the only issue, the central issue in [federal court appointments], is abortion. It's not the other things that people throw out." He added that, "The whole judiciary now is being held, in a sense, hostage to that one issue." Speaking to law students at the University of Alabama, Thomas said the confirmation process should be less intrusive and not delve into every aspect of a nominee's life. AP has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.