Today, Republican judicial nominees must engage in a distasteful cat-and-mouse charade whereby they are badgered to repent from any past blasphemies in which they contradicted liberal church doctrine on abortion.
Speaking of such blasphemies, two 1985 memos are said to be the twin barrels of the smoking gun that prove Judge Alito to be an irredeemable enemy of women's sacred rights. One involved his application for a position with the attorney general in which he reportedly expressed pride in contributing to legal arguments for the Reagan administration such as "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
The second is a memo he wrote as a lawyer in the U.S. Solicitor General's Office in a certain abortion case where he discussed "this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade and, in the meantime, of mitigating its effects."
The discovery of these writings immediately placed Alito in the doghouse. How dare a Supreme Court nominee have had the audacity to suggest that a case that even many liberal legal scholars recognize as poor constitutional law is poor constitutional law and ought to be overturned?
These revelations nudged liberal Sen. Specter toward convulsions. Specter indicated he would ask Alito to answer a number of questions in writing, presumably giving him a chance to express contrition for such breaches of postmodern etiquette and properly distance himself from those past sins.
The White House convinced Specter to meet with Alito instead and publicly report his responses. According to Specter, in the first memo, Alito was merely expressing a "personal opinion, [which] would not be a factor in his judicial decision." In the second, "he was writing as an advocate; that his role as a judge would be different."
These explanations aren't satisfying liberal groups, which is entirely predictable, since they're apparently impervious to the concept that a judge can separate his personal or political views from his rulings and dispassionately interpret the Constitution. (You know how it works: Thieves think everybody steals, Bill Clinton thinks everybody lies, liberal judicial activists think every judge is an activist.)
Accordingly, they are convinced Alito's presumed personal opposition to abortion dictated his vote (by way of dissenting opinion) in Casey v. Planned Parenthood to uphold a state statute requiring a married woman to inform her husband before having an abortion. It couldn't possibly be that he believed the law required him to uphold the statute.