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Are Abortion Rights the Most Important Consideration In Alito’s Nomination?

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Much has been said of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr’s opinion about abortion. In a 1985 statement, he said that the constitution does not protect the right to abortion. He says that he believed that position at that time, but he will keep an open mind on the abortion issue if it comes before the Supreme Court.

But is abortion the most important consideration when determining if Mr. Alito is the right man for the job? I, for one, am more interested in his statement about stare decisis (to stand by what is already decided). He said that stare decisis “…is a very important doctrine…” But, he added, “…I don’t want to leave the impression that stare decisis is an inexorable command, because the Supreme Court has said that it is not.”

No, that’s true. The Supreme Court does not have to stand by previous decisions. But they usually do, especially in an issue where the court has not only given a ruling, but reaffirmed it. For example, abortion rights were strengthened in a 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the Supreme Court affirmed the right of abortion as protected under The Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment. Mr. Alito said, “When a precedent is reaffirmed, that strengthens the precedent.” So, I wonder, does that mean that he will defend abortion rights under the doctrine of stare decisis, or will he attempt to overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade.

More interesting, of course, is where he will stand on state’s rights. The Supreme Court has recently decided that states are not protected from lawsuits brought by prisoners (in the narrow scope of constitutional issues). The prisoner in question, a paraplegic, sued Georgia for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The court did not clarify whether states could be sued simply for violations of this statute if constitutional issues were not present. This part of constitutional law has been a bone of contention between the states and the federal government almost since the start of the American Republic. In my opinion, where Mr. Alito stands on the issue of state’s rights will better reflect the types of decisions he will make in his term than where he stands on the issue of abortion.

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  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Somehow, I remember a similar article on another nominee. Or was that another list?? I agree with you 100% on the states’ rights issue. The other issue that is important to look at is contract law and which issues take primacy (I forget the legal term of art) in deciding cases.

    Maybe the Fifth Dentist will understand what I’m getting at.

    Is there a Dentist in the house??

    Abortion is one of the least important issues, as there are often other issues mixed in with these cases that may be more important than what copy hungry journalists want to write about.

  • Bing

    What an ass Ted Kennedy made of himself during the hearing’s today.

    It’s just pathetic. The Democrats are grasping at straws in a feeble attempt to keep Alito from being confirmed. But it will not succeed.

    It’s all over except the crying for Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer and thier vile leftist ilk.

  • Bennett

    Yeah, My Senator from Vermont, Pat Leahy, wasn’t about to be pushed around. Note to Bing, Senator Leahy’s a Democrat.

    Oh, and do you have any more crude and immature insults to fling out there?

    PS: Learn to spell.

  • Sister Ray

    It’s starting to feel like America was founded just so people would have a place to stand around and argue about abortion.

  • Bing

    Bennet I didn’t say anything about Leahy so what are you talking about.

    I was referring to the drunken, murdering, sack of shit from MAssachuseets and the inane comments he made today during the hearings.

    You may call me crude and immature but at least I didn’t get drunk and drive my car off a bridge with a pregnant woman in it and allow her to drown while I went home and consulted with my publicist on what to do.

    Maybe you’d like to respond to something I actually said in your next post Bennet……just a suggestion.

  • Bennett

    Let’s see… Kennedy made an ass out of himself today by jumping the gun on a letter he sent to Leahy that he presumed Leahy had received.

    I may call you crude and immature but you haven’t been elected to hold public office yet. Have you received your Law Dregree yet?

    Oh. Okay. You’re a backseat critic, with an opinion. Cool, that’s free speech for ya.

    How do YOU think Kennedy erred today?

    (I listened to the NPR broadcasts today, I presume you did more than just listen to Rush, eh?)

  • http://alito larry

    nothing i like more more than teddy teddy kennedy being spanked. spanke what a jerk! its its about time
    he realized the
    the kennedy mystique
    is gone! larry

  • Bing

    What did Kennedy do wrong?

    Well let’s see. Kennedy basically inferred that Alito is a bigot and racist because he belonged to an organization called CAP at Princeton for a short time in 1972 that 13 years later published an editorial by someone else in thier magazine that stated something like blacks think they are entitled to jobs just because they are black.

    For one the editorial wasn’t written by Sam Alito. Also the article was written 13 years after ALito had beena member of CAP. SO what at all does this have to do with Alito or his views?

    Kennedy is just trying to use anything to make Alito look bad in the hopes of blocking confirmation but it won’t work.

    You totally ignored my remark about Chappaquiddick so I guess in your eyes Bennet it’s ok if someone drives drunk and kills a woman as long as they are an elected Democrat with a law degree huh?

    And by the way Kennedy sent the letter to Arlen Specter, a Republican who is the chairman on the judicial committee, not Leahy. Get your facts straight Bennet.

  • zingzing

    we’ll have to wait until the future to see if bing can get through a comments thread without mentioning kennedy and the car and the woman and the killing and the drunken and the pregnant and the drowning and the MAssachuseets.

    to the future… ture… ture… ture.

    i’ve never tried to save a pregnant woman from a sinking car, but one has to wonder how difficult it would be.

  • Bing

    Well Zing considering Kennedy is the one who is currently attacking Alito’s character with his inane ramblings I’d say that it is more than appropriate to discuss Kennedy and his character wouldn’t you?

    If Ted Kennedy could keep his fat mouth shut during the hearings I wouldn’t be talking about him on here.

    Also zing, there were other things in my post regarding how Alito’s brief involvement and CAP does not mean he is a racist. Why did you not comment on this?

  • Bing

    Bennet have you given up on this post?

  • Scott

    Here’s why the CAP thing is weird…he joined it whilst at Princeton, put his membership in it on a resume years later, and now has no memory of it. So, he remembered it to put on his resume years after the fact but now he doesn’t remember it? I mean, what’s the deal with that?

    “If Ted Kennedy could keep his fat mouth shut during the hearings I wouldn’t be talking about him on here”

    Well, Bing, he is on the judiciary committee so it’s his job, you see, to ask questions during the hearings.

  • Andy Marsh

    but should teddy the murderer even be allowed to ask questions concerning character? Maybe so…I mean…he is an authority on bad character!

  • zingzing

    bing–feel free to talk about kennedy all you want. we all know about the accident/drowning. one act almost 40 years does not define a man, nor does it need to be repeated endlessly. shit, when i was 8, i held up a kid at knifepoint for a couple of dollars and the thrill of it. of course i felt bad. i don’t let it bother me now.

    “Also zing, there were other things in my post regarding how Alito’s brief involvement and CAP does not mean he is a racist. Why did you not comment on this?”

    because i don’t believe it makes him a racist. maybe a bit shady, what with the hiding… or “forgetting,” or whatever, but i don’t believe the man’s a racist. that’s a pretty big leap to make. like i said, one act, or one paper, or one membership in a college club or whatever it was, does not define a man.

    andy marsh: “but should teddy the murderer even be allowed to ask questions concerning character? Maybe so…I mean…he is an authority on bad character!”

    do you know the guy? maybe he is a bit of a slob, but you’re judging something you have no right to judge. i’m not gonna judge your intelligence because you like stephen king and dean koontz… i’m sure you’ve taken the time to read some good books in your life.

  • zingzing

    hrm… i just agreed with bing on something and the world did not end. something is amiss.

  • Andy Marsh

    so reading king and koontz makes me somehow unintelligent to you? I could really give a shit what you think about a couple of authors I put up on my blog. kennedy is a murderer. He left Mary Joe Kopekni to drown in his car. All he would have had to do was make a phone call. Instead, he want home and pondered what he should do. He’s lower than whale shit in the Marianas trench!

    You very well may have held up some kid when you were 8. maybe, like you, I should draw some conclusions about your character, based on one thing, but I won’t…I think the statute of limitations may have run out on your crime…it never runs out on murder!

    I’ve always wondered who the assholes are in this country taht would vote for a scumbag like kennedy…I think I’ve finally met one!

  • Andy Marsh

    and when that one act, as you call it, is murder…it surely does define the man!

  • zingzing

    woohoo. fun.

    andy: “maybe, like you, I should draw some conclusions about your character, based on one thing, but I won’t…”

    AHEM, zingzing: “i’m not gonna judge your intelligence because you like stephen king and dean koontz… i’m sure you’ve taken the time to read some good books in your life.”

    yeah, try reading more than the first sentence, dill pickle. i said “i’m sure you’ve taken the time to read some good books.” no spin! i meant what i said! like that? does it hurt your eyes? boggle the brain?

    “I’ve always wondered who the assholes are in this country taht would vote for a scumbag like kennedy…I think I’ve finally met one!”

    i wouldn’t vote for him. can’t. don’t live there. don’t generally vote unless it’s a presidential election year. think politics is a game that rich white men play poorly. think congress, although valuable for certain reasons, is usually just a bunch of idiots arguing about which party’s dick is bigger. they’re politicians. all they really do is try to get reelected. name-caller. roasted peanut.

    “and when that one act, as you call it, is murder…it surely does define the man!”

    i don’t think you could technically call it “murder.” and neither do you. you’re just using the term to make it sound as horrible as possible. a woman (pregnant pregnant pregnant) died. it was kennedy’s fault. he shouldn’t have been driving drunk. he flipped a car into a lake, tried to save her (according to him according to him according to him), failed, and went to his lawyer, like any kennedy would. he should have called the cops first, but he was scared. i don’t think you could honestly (honestly) say what you would have done in the situation, but i can guarantee that you would have pled ‘not guilty’ to a charge of murder.


  • Scott

    Hey, didn’t Laura Bush murder some people with her car?

  • Andy Marsh

    call it what you want…if you think it will sound any better…depraved indifference…manslaughter…reckless disregard for the love of another human being…she didn’t die in the accident…she suffocated…he’s a waste of human flesh and he’s in the us senate…disgusting!

  • RogerMDillon

    Yes, Scott. She ran a stop sign and killed someone she knew.

  • greg

    The general democrat feeling seems to be that the abortion issue is unimportant. in fact, if you realize that drawing the line of humanity at the outside of the cervix is lunacy, you’ll realize that more than 30,000,000 human lives are at stake on this issue. It it the ONLY important issue of our time.

  • zingzing

    oh andy, what would you have done?

    “call it what you want…if you think it will sound any better.”

    i didn’t call it anything. i’m not one to judge something that happened 10 years before i was born. you called it something it may or may not be. you weren’t there, so you’ll never know for sure.

    “waste of human flesh?” he’s just a man, andy. maybe he does deserve to be in jail. maybe he shouldn’t be in the senate. from your record here, i don’t think you would make a good judge, nor should you be in charge of life-or-death situations… your emotions cloud your vision, i think.

  • zingzing

    take it elsewhere, greg. there are a couple of threads going on right now that deal with abortion.
    (when you realize that denying a woman’s choice is lunacy, you’ll realize that there are 3-4 billion lives at stake. i don’t believe the abortion debate is unimportant. what kind of phrase is “the general democrat feeling?” oh, you did say “seems.” so you don’t know. silly man.)

  • Michael J. West

    “It is the ONLY important issue of our time”?

    Let me get this straight, Greg.

    Osama bin Laden is still at large, the war in Iraq is killing thousands of Americans and Iraqis, the president is expanding his power to infringe on the Constitution, Iran is re-establishing its nuclear program, Israel is in political turmoil, the gulf coast remains a wasteland of hurricane devastation, the government is doing absolutely nothing to strengthen the borders, we’re looking at a wave of SERIOUS corruption in our elected officials in Congress…

    …and abortion is the ONLY important issue of our time?

    Greg, you either don’t get out much, or you are dangerously obsessed.

  • zingzing

    i vote for both!

  • zingzing

    whoop–haha. sorry, greg… i forgot this post was about abortion… not kennedy… ugh… sorry. feel free to post about abortion now.

    no, no! i was being silly. it was a joke greg, i’m not that dumb… most of the time…

  • zingzing

    at least that’s proof that all i want to do is argue just to argue… nothing better to do…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I see that most of you guys are swimming in the abortion issue like pigs in a mudhole. Doesn’t anyone other than the author understnd that very little of a supreme court’s justice’s time is spent on abortion, and that it is not the be all and end all of judicial functions?

  • bernese

    The abortion issue is one very important issue in American today. What i cannot understand is if a women is pregant and a drunk driver like Kenndy hits her head on and she loses the baby then that guy goes to jail. If the same women wants to kill her baby thats okay its her right to choose. Whats wrong with this picture it looks to me like in one case the baby has rights and in the other case it does not. I hope Alito gets on the court and answers some of these interesting questions. Some on her seem to think its okay for Kenndy to go back years and try and find something on Alito but when Ted is questioned about his morals then we are supposed to forget what he did. Just remember he is the one who brought up womens rights and morals. The Dems should have had someone eles do that he is not very qualified. He never spent on day in jail for what he did to that poor girl. If his last name had not been Kenndy then he would have.I guess he was not on womens rights agenda when he left that poor women to die in that lake. As for the other issues I can’t remember did anyone die in any other war that we fought? It’s war people no one wants to have our men and women die but in war that sometimes happens. I don’t agree with Bush on every thing but i am glad we don’t have a whimp leading this country. If people in this country are talking to terrorist then we should know what there saying. I did’t see anyone complaing when Carter or Clinton did the same thing execept Clinton went into someones house without a warrant.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Hi Bernese,

    Can I ask an impolite question. What does this have to do with the article? Judge Alito didn’t get drunk and dump a girl in a lake, Ed Kennedy did. Nobody’s appointing Kennedy to the bench – or have I been living in a cave?

  • bernese

    I was just responding to other comments on this web page. Maybe you can answer my question on the difference in abortion cases. A women who loses her baby in a car acciedent verses a women that just wants to get rid of her baby. I think it will be a very important if Alito gets on court to have these issues resloved.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    The question about the woman losing a foetus due to car accident is an issue of tort law, in my eyes, unless you accord the foetus the full rights of a human being. Then you might have a criminal case for manslaughter as well as a civil suit for negligently depriving a person of his life.

    The woman who seeks to voluntarily abort a foetus falls under a different category of American law.

    I apologize, Bernese. I do not know that much about American law anymore.

  • bernese

    Well what about Scott Peterson he is dealth row for the murder of his wife and unborn son? They are both the killing of an unborn fetus as you call it. I used to work with a girl who was a car accident and her baby was killed it is still in courts but she was going for crimial charges. I am very much pro-life I just don’t see how its a crime to kill a baby a few moments after its birth and a right of choose if you take that same baby and kill it a few seconds before its birth. Have you ever seen how they do this produre? Well I guess that is for another debate.

  • Anthony Grande

    Click on my URL if you want to see how this barbaric procedure works.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Bernese, Anthony,

    Both of you seem to miss the point of this article by a country mile. Abortion is NOT the primary issue a supreme court justice faces – and even if it were, this nominee would probably suit you.

    The primary issues a supreme court justice faces is how to sort out the law – which series of decisions go in what box. Determining what rights the states have as opposed to the federal government is a big part of those decisons.

    You should look at the other sides of this judge. How does he stand on corporate law? What about small businesses? Will he favor agribusiness over small farms? Where does he stand on criminal law? If you find yourself wrongly convicted of a capital crime (yes it does happen), what chance will this judge afford you of avoiding the chair or the hangman’s noose?

    These are the real questions you need to look at – not abortion.