Terry Jeffrey

During the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whenever you hear a liberal calling the judge "far right," think of the instant dossier published about him by People for the American Way (PFAW).

 It is an excellent indicator of what this phrase means to the American left.

 No sooner had President Bush nominated Alito than PFAW announced a "massive national effort" to defeat him, with PFAW President Ralph Neas labeling him a "far-right activist" who "would threaten Americans' rights and legal protections."

 To support its argument, PFAW released its dossier, whose first topic, not surprisingly, is "Privacy Rights and Reproductive Freedom." "Alito's opinions on abortion and reproductive choice," it concludes, "are very troubling."

 One decision cited by PFAW to back this claim is Alexander v. Whitman, a 1997 case in which Alito's appeals court declared that Kaylyn Alexander was not a "person" under the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 opinion that made abortion a "right." Alito concurred in the decision, expressing "almost complete agreement with the court's opinion." But his language evidently lacked the zeal PFAW demands in such cases. "Alito," claimed PFAW's dossier, "wrote a very brief concurrence which is ambiguous as to his views on Roe v. Wade."

 In reality, Alexander did not tip Alito's hand on Roe. But it does say a lot about the pro-abortion cause.

 In 1992, New Jersey resident Karen Alexander, eight-and-a-half months pregnant, went to a hospital to deliver her baby, Kaylyn. Fourteen minutes before Kaylyn was delivered by Caesarean section, all vital signs indicated she was "normal and healthy." Yet, she died before the Caesarean was completed.

 The mother sued New Jersey. The state's law, her lawyers noted, allowed a wrongful death suit to be brought on behalf of a baby who was injured in the womb and then survived, but not on behalf of a baby who was injured in the womb and died there. They contended this law was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of the laws to all persons.

 The lawyers cited a New Jersey Supreme Court case involving babies who survive prenatal injuries that said "(m)edical authorities have long recognized that a child is in existence from the moment of conception, and not merely a part of the mother's body."

 In essence, they argued, all human beings are persons and entitled to the same rights under the 14th Amendment.


Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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