WATCH: Samuel Alito hoodwinked the American people about future Supreme Court abortion cases
The leaked United States Supreme Court decision stripping Americans of their reproductive liberty that was obtained and published by Politico on Monday evening triggered a domestic political earthquake. That this day has finally arrived is of little surprise, though, since the right-wing has for decades made eliminating access to abortion their top priority.
What is shocking, however, is the brazenly brutal language that Associate Justice Samuel Alito used in the 98-page opinion through which the Court's right-wing majority aims to reverse the precedents established in Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania versus Casey.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division," wrote Alito, who was nominated in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush.
“The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” the draft concludes. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
This is (or should be) a very big problem for Alito.
His ruling irreconcilably contradicts what he told the Senate during his confirmation hearings 16 years ago – while under oath – about the role that the Supreme Court will play in future cases involving abortion rights.
Alito maintained during grillings by multiple lawmakers that Roe and Casey were the settled laws of the land "based on stare decisis."
He added that "when a decision is challenged, and it is reaffirmed, that strengthens its value."
Provided below is a transcription of Alito's conversation with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois).
But let me just ask you this. John Roberts said that Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land. Do you believe it is the settled law of the land?Alito:
Roe v. Wade is an important precedent of the Supreme Court. It was decided in 1973, so it has been on the books for a long time. It has been challenged on a number of occasions, and I discussed those yesterday, and the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the decision, sometimes on the merits, sometimes in Casey, based on stare decisis, and I think that when a decision is challenged and it is reaffirmed that strengthens its value as stare decisis for at least two reasons. First of all, the more often a decision is reaffirmed, the more people tend to rely on it, and second, I think stare decisis reflects the view that there is wisdom embedded in decisions that have been made by prior Justices who take the same oath and are scholars and are conscientious, and when they examine a question and they reach a conclusion, I think that’s entitled to considerable respect, and of course, the more times that happens, the more respect the decision is entitled to, and that’s my view of that. So it is a very important precedent that...
Is it the settled law of the land?
It is a—if settled means that it can’t be re-examined, then that’s one thing. If settled means that it is a precedent that is entitled to respect as stare decisis, and all of the factors that I’ve mentioned come into play, including the reaffirmation and all of that, then it is a precedent that is protected, entitled to respect under the doctrine of stare decisis in that way.
How do you see it?
I have explained, Senator, as best I can how I see it. It is a precedent that has now been on the books for several decades. It has been challenged. It has been reaffirmed, but it is an issue that is involved in litigation now at all levels. There is an abortion case before the Supreme Court this term. There are abortion cases in the lower courts. I’ve sat on three of them on the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. I’m sure there are others in other courts of appeals, or working their way toward the courts of appeals right now, so it’s an issue that is involved in a considerable amount of litigation that is going on.
Watch Alito's testimony here courtesy of Politico:
Alito was not the only potential Supreme Court jurist who displayed duplicity on the topic of abortion. All three of former President Donald Trump's picks – Associate Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh – declared during their respective confirmation hearings that Roe and Casey were established precedent and should not be overturned. Alito, Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas are identified as the majority in the draft opinion.
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