[Mb-civic] On Abortion,
Few Seem to Take Roberts at Face Value - Charles Babington
- Washington Post
swiggard at comcast.net
Sat Sep 17 06:42:59 PDT 2005
On Abortion, Few Seem to Take Roberts at Face Value
Nominee's Testimony Discounted by Groups On Both Sides of Issue
By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 17, 2005; Page A02
In 20 hours of Senate testimony this week, John G. Roberts Jr. made
several comments that would seem reassuring to abortion rights advocates
and unsettling to those seeking to outlaw abortion. There is a
constitutional right to privacy, he said. And justices should show
significant deference to long-settled cases such as the landmark 1973
Roe v. Wade abortion ruling.
But the reaction from both camps in the abortion wars was startling.
Abortion rights groups took no comfort in the chief justice nominee's
remarks, and antiabortion groups took no offense. The reason, activists
on the left and right say, is that both sides vividly remember Clarence
Thomas's 1991 confirmation hearing in the same Senate Judiciary
Abortion rights groups vilify Thomas, and antiabortion groups hail him,
for telling senators he had never discussed or thought about Roe , only
to advocate its rejection soon after joining the high court. That
14-year-old hearing echoed so loudly in the Hart Senate Office Building
this week that virtually none of the activists seemed willing or able to
take Roberts's remarks at face value.
Roe is "settled as a precedent of the court," Roberts told the
committee, and is "entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis
." The term is Latin for "to stand by that which is decided."
"I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a
precedent," Roberts said. "It is not enough that you may think the prior
decision was wrongly decided."
Were these not hints that Roberts, if confirmed as chief justice, would
be loath to revisit Roe ?
Not at all, said Leonard Leo, on leave from the conservative Federalist
Society to promote the confirmation effort. "What he said about privacy
is, in substance, no different from what other recent nominees have
said, . . . Justice Clarence Thomas in particular," Leo said in an
interview. And Roberts's discussion of stare decisis , he said, "was
almost as though you were having a glimpse into the way a judge would
sit in his chambers and do the analysis: . . . Maybe there are times
when a jolt in the legal system is acceptable."
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Mb-civic