As promised, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) made abortion one of the central issues of his opening statement — the first at Monday’s hearing. He also promised to address issues of executive power and congressional power as it relates to the Supreme Court.
Specter’s remarks alluded to the left’s opposition then-nominee David Souter faced in 1990 and Souter’s subsequent change of heart on the issue of abortion. (Was this a subtle message to Alito?)
"The history of the court is full of surprises on this issue. The major case upholding Roe is Casey v. Planned Parenthood, where the landmark opinion was written jointly by Justices O’Connor, Kennedy and Souter. Justices O’Connor and Kennedy were outspoken in opposition to abortion rights before joining the court. As New Hampshire’s attorney general, David Souter had opposed repealing his state’s law banning abortions even after Roe had declared it unconstitutional."
Specter also added:
"This hearing will give Judge Alito the public forum to address the issue, as he has with senators in private meetings, that his personal views and prior advocacy will not determine his judicial decision, but instead he will weigh factors such as stare decisis on the precedents, women’s (and men’s, too) reliance on Roe and whether Roe is embedded in the culture of our nation."