Justices Hear Oral
Arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood
"You never put too much stock into the justices' questions, or get hung up on what you think their 'body language' is revealing," said NRLC State Legislation Director Mary Balch. "These are very intelligent people who are probing your argument, sometimes to solidify a position they have already tentatively reached, sometimes to lobby their fellow justices, and sometimes because they genuinely don't know how this case will come out."
The Court, as it has more of late, allowed the public to hear the entire exchange just a little over an hour after the hearings concluded. C-SPAN television and radio carried the 60-minute-long discussion in its entirety. Several considerations stand out.
First, there was the presence of the new Chief Justice, John Roberts. He asked particularly probing questions, on occasion formulating the arguments more clearly than the attorneys arguing for and against the law, who are under enormous pressure. Roberts is clearly every bit as bright as he appeared to be in his confirmation hearings.
Second, there was Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, still on the bench months after announcing her retirement. Should her successor be confirmed before a decision on Ayotte is announced--and her absence means there is a 4–4 tie--the Court has the option of re-hearing the case.
Many observers predicted the justices would spend considerable time on question of "standard of review." By this they mean just how high--or low--the bar is set to determine whether a law can be stopped even before it goes into effect.
Heightened Interest in Alito's
Views on Abortion
With Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court set to begin January 9, interest in the abortion issue has been heightened by a memo he wrote in 1985 as a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan Administration and a job application submitted later the same year. Coincidentally, the documents became public in reverse order from when they were actually written.
Alito submitted the job application in November 1985 when he was working in the solicitor general's office and seeking a post as deputy assistant attorney general. Referring to the Supreme Court case of Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Alito wrote of having helped ''to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly" while in the solicitor general's office.
He went on to say, ''I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
The application was released November 14 by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
As part of the confirmation process, Alito met with pro-abortion Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.). She asked about it. "He said: 'I was an advocate seeking a job. It was a political job, and that was 1985,'" Feinstein told reporters. She said she believed his response to be ''absolutely truthful."
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The address again is
Vol. 32, No. 12
From the President
THE PRO-ABORTIONISTS ARE ORGANIZING…HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?
... How can you
n Pray for the mothers who face a difficult pregnancy so that they choose life for their unborn babies. Pray for the conversion of the abortionists and those who work, propagandize, and legislate for the "right" to kill unborn babies. Pray for the pro-life movement; especially the staff of NRLC, the state affiliates of NRLC, the supporters of NRLC, and those who have joined us through the state affiliates of NRLC.
n Join the NRLC affiliate in your state and recruit others for our cause. Remember that Planned Parenthood's "Action Network" registered 782,384 by May 2005. And NARAL had 30,000 "rapid responders" in a short time. We must respond with the same intensity. We must able to out-work them on the grassroots level.
n Make a tax-deductible donation to the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund (payable to NRL Educational Trust Fund, 512 10th St. NW, Washington, DC 20004). Remember that NARAL "surpassed its fundraised goals in the hours following Justice O'Connor's announcement." We must raise as much money as we can in order to compete with them in the public square.
The monies in the NRL Educational Trust Fund are used for the educational work of NRLC.
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