Alito questioned on abortion

Jan. 10, 2006 at 12:23 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito, questioned about abortion on the second day of his confirmation hearings, expressed his respect for precedents.

He told the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., "I agree that, in every case in which there is a prior precedent, the first issue is the issue of stare decisis," reports CNN. The Latin phrase means "to stand by a decision."

Alito went on to say: "And the presumption is that the court will follow its prior precedents. There needs to be a special justification for overruling a prior precedent."

On executive powers relating to domestic spying, another key issue in the hearings, Alito said, "No person is above the law, and that includes the president, and includes the Supreme Court," the report said.

On Monday, when the hearings began, Alito said he believes the U.S. Constitution protects the right to privacy.

The Washington Post reported Alito also said divisive policies he once advocated as a government lawyer do not necessarily signal how he would rule if confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Some critics feel his writings while in the Reagan administration Justice Department show he is predisposed to outlaw abortion rights, restrict affirmative action and expand presidential authority, the Post reported.

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