November 2, 2005

More on Alito's Record

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Christian Science Monitor provides some more detail on Judge Alito’s record on the issue of abortion…

In 3 of 4 cases, Supreme Court nominee Alito voted on the side of abortion rights.
The CSM gives a brief explanation of the four cases involved.
1) A 1991 challenge to a Pennsylvania law requiring married women to notify their husbands before seeking an abortion. The court struck down the restriction. Alito dissented.
This is the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, already much discussed. In this case, Judge Alito scrupulously applied Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s precedents to decide that a spousal consent law with multiple exceptions -- (1) [The husband] is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) [the woman seeking an abortion] has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her -- did not place an “undue burden” on the right to abortion.
2) A 1995 challenge to a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking to use Medicaid funds to abort a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest to report the incident to law enforcement officials and identify the offender. Alito provided the decisive vote striking down the abortion restriction.
This is the case of Blackwell Health Center v. Knoll. Alito joined an opinion that enjoined Pennsylvania from “(1) requiring certification by a second physician [in cases involving the health of the mother], and (2) enforcing its rape and incest reporting requirements..."
3) A 1997 challenge to a New Jersey law that prevents parents from suing for damages on behalf of the wrongful death of a fetus. Alito ruled that the Constitution does not afford protection to the unborn.
This is the case of Alexander v. Whitman. Alito strictly applied Supreme Court precedent to reach his decision; “I agree with the essential point that the court is making: that the Supreme Court has held that a fetus is not a ‘person’ within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
4) A 2000 challenge to New Jersey's ban on so-called partial-birth abortions. Alito struck down the law based on a recent Supreme Court decision.
This is the case of Planned Parenthood v. Farmer. In this case, Judge Alito voted to strike down the law because 1) it did not contain an exception for the life of the mother and 2) it too broadly defined what constituted a partial birth abortion.

The record is clear: Samuel Alito is not a fire-breathing radical who decides abortion cases based on their public-policy outcomes. It's time to replace that argument against him with something honest.