Friday, December 02, 2005a memo has emerged in which Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito "outlined a strategy for attacking the 1973 Roe ruling without making a "frontal assault" that might prove unwinnable. "What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" he asked in the memo concerning a Pennsylvania case before the Supreme Court, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."
A large group of us always suspected that Miers was a stealth candidate put in place to overturn Roe, and the fact that Alito failed to detail his role in this memo in his Senate questionnaire just shows that these nominees have been instructed to fly under the radar when it comes to abortion rights.
Kind of makes you wonder what John Roberts has up his sleeve.
Newly Released Papers Energize Alito's Critics
Credibility Questions Are Raised Anew
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 2, 2005; Page A02
Newly released documents by Samuel A. Alito Jr. touching on abortion and other issues have pumped new life into efforts to sharply challenge his nomination to the Supreme Court, liberal activists said yesterday.
Details of Alito's 1985 strategy to undermine the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling have energized abortion rights groups, they said, but broader questions about his overall credibility may eventually prove more problematic to the Bush administration's confirmation efforts. One Democratic senator demanded yesterday that Alito explain why he omitted references to a 17-page abortion-strategy memo in a questionnaire recently returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, while another senator -- Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the committee's senior member -- said that "a credibility gap is emerging with each new piece of information released on Judge Alito's record."
In a sign of Republican nervousness about the criticisms, Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) quickly scheduled a meeting with Alito for today, after which the senator will speak to reporters. Although Specter sometimes differs with President Bush, the White House credits him with stepping in to smooth out controversies in the previous confirmation efforts, for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and White House counsel Harriet Miers, who ultimately withdrew and was replaced by Alito.
The flurry of events was triggered by the release Wednesday of the lengthy 1985 memo in which Alito, then a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, outlined a strategy for attacking the 1973 Roe ruling without making a "frontal assault" that might prove unwinnable. "What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects?" he asked in the memo concerning a Pennsylvania case before the Supreme Court, Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Alito did not cite the case in his responses to the Senate questionnaire, also released on Wednesday, which asked him to describe the most significant litigation matters he has handled. The omission angered Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will convene for Alito's confirmation hearing on Jan. 9.
"In light of your 17-page memorandum and the accounts of your former colleagues, your 'participation in the litigation' was clearly substantial," Schumer said in a letter asking Alito to explain. Citing a previously disclosed memo in which Alito successfully sought a promotion in the Justice Department, Schumer added: "In your 1985 job application, written only a few months later, you appeared to highlight your work on the Thornburgh case."
Although the Wednesday disclosures reinvigorated liberal groups hoping to block Alito's confirmation, Democrats steered clear of suggesting that they might form the basis of a filibuster, a tactic in which opponents could try to thwart the nominee even though Republicans hold 55 of the chamber's 100 seats. "The more we learn about Judge Alito, the more problematic this nomination becomes," said Rebecca Kirszner, spokeswoman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "The Democratic caucus will wait for the hearings before any decisions are made."