Monday, November 14, 2005

Abortion Not A Constitutional Right

(Via The Washington Times)

Bill Sammon reports on the contents of a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times that will probably comfort conservatives and send liberals over the cliff:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.

"I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.

The document, which is likely to inflame liberals who oppose Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, is among many that the White House will release today from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In direct, unambiguous language, the young career lawyer who served as assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, demonstrated his conservative bona fides as he sought to become a political appointee in the Reagan administration.

"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican."

But his statements against abortion and affirmative action might cause him headaches from Democrats and liberals as he prepares for confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, scheduled for January.

"It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," he wrote.

"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." 

It will really be interesting to see whether the Democrats try to derail Alito’s nomination based solely on what they think he will do regarding Roe v. Wade. Of course, no matter how the Democrats frame the issue, abortion is not and probably will never be a constitutional right. I think most Americans, regardless of their stance on the issue, realize this.

Alito is absolutely right when he says, “the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion”. The ruling in Roe v. Wade was a court decision, not a constitutional amendment. Since the courts cannot amend the Constitution, and the word “abortion” appears nowhere within it’s text, the issue cannot be argued honestly from a constitutional perspective.

One could even make the argument that it is unlikely that Alito will ever rule on the constitutionality of abortion for the same reasons. If an amendment to the Constitution someday allows abortion, then Alito would have a basis to rule on it. Alito’s stance as to the morality of abortion should have no impact whatsoever on his ability to serve as a Supreme Court justice, assuming his rulings deal with constitutionality and not his personal views.

My personal opinion is that abortion could never be a protected constitutional right simply because granting rights to one party (the mother) automatically cancels out the rights of the other (the unborn child). The Constitution protects the rights of all citizens and over the years amendments have been added to guarantee protections to groups who did not previously have the same rights as others. These amendments have never restricted the rights of one group in order to grant rights to another.

If the Democrats try to fight the Alito nomination from a Roe v. Wade perspective, they will lose. I suspect Roe v. Wade is just the tip of the iceberg. If that’s all they have to fight the nomination with, they will have a very tough time turning public opinion in their favor and will quite possibly add further to their political misfortune.

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