Where Alito's Explanation Doesn't Provide Cover

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where Alito's Explanation Doesn't Provide Cover

During Senate hearings on Tuesday, SCOTUS nominee Samuel Alito was quizzed about his 1985 memorandum recommending a legal strategy to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. Judge Alito responded that he "was performing a different role" then as a government lawyer for the Reagan administration.

That excuse may seem lame to some observers, but it may appear to others to be a plausible explanation for the '85 memo -- "I wrote the memo I was assigned to write for a legal point of view that I might not have fully shared."

But such an excuse doesn't work for the 1985 job application form that Alito filled out for a Justice Department post. On that job application, Alito said he believed "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Since he was not yet employed by the Reaganites and, therefore, not yet "performing a different role," what is Alito's excuse for the statement he made on this form?

He carefully sidestepped this on Tuesday. We'll see if anyone on the Senate Judiciary Committee is willing to point out that the "performing a different role" explanation doesn't explain away the job application statement.

The most logical conclusion is that Alito was either: a) honestly voicing his hostility to Roe v. Wade, or b) telling Reagan insiders what he felt they wanted to hear just to land himself a job. Neither conclusion reflects well on Alito.

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