CBS Focuses on Concerns of "Moderate" Repubs on Alito, Suggests Confirmation Over

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-11-14-CBSENSchiefferBorger.jpg" />All the networks jumped on the revelation Monday, that in applying for a job with Ed Meese in 1985, Samuel Alito boasted of his belief “the constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.” Of the broadcast network stories, CBS's Gloria Borger and Bob Schieffer, however, displayed the most interest in the concerns of “moderate” Republicans and whether the disclosure could block his confirmation. After a soundbite from an former clerk to Alito that Alito's “personal beliefs are irrelevant when he's working on a case,&quot; Borger ran a clip from marginally Republican Senator Susan Collins and then fretted: “The document raises new questions for Collins and other Republicans about whether Alito still holds the view that the right to an abortion is not guaranteed in the constitution.&quot; Schieffer soon asked Borger if this means Alito is toast: &quot;Gloria, give us a bottom line here quickly. Does this mean that Judge Alito may not get confirmed after all? A lot of people thought he was headed toward confirmation.&quot; Borger tried to rewind Schieffer's proposition, but again emphasized the worries of “lots” of moderate Republicans: &quot;I think this makes the path a little bit more rocky, Bob. There're going to be lots of moderate Republicans asking lots of tough questions. We just don't know where it's going to end up yet.&quot; (Full transcript follows.)<br /><br />From the November 14 <i>CBS Evening News</i>:<br /><blockquote>Anchor Bob Schieffer: “Is Samuel Alito, the man the President's nominated to the Supreme Court, a strong opponent of abortion? Until now, he has not really said. But that's the question that has suddenly come to the fore in Washington, after a letter that Alito wrote in 1985 has became public. Gloria Borger now with more on that.”<br /><br />Gloria Borger, on Capitol Hill: “Judge Alito hasn't had much to say lately, but that wasn't the case 20 years ago. Applying for a job with Attorney General Ed Meese in 1985, the young lawyer declared himself a 'conservative' and a 'lifelong registered Republican.' Citing his work in the Reagan Solicitor General's office, Alito wrote [text on screen]: '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.' Abortion rights activists were quick to call this definitive proof that Judge Alito would vote to overturn Roe versus Wade. But one of Alito's former law clerks -- who calls himself a liberal -- says they're wrong.”<br /> <br />Jeffrey Wasserstein, former law clerk to Judge Alito: “I would be surprised.” <br /><br />Borger: “Even if he's personally opposed to abortion?”<br /><br />Wasserstein: “That's right. That's right. I think his personal biases, personal beliefs are irrelevant when he's working on a case.”<br /><br />Borger: “That's what Alito has been telling Senators privately, that his belief in the importance of settled law, including Roe versus Wade, trumps his own views.”<br /><br />Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), on November 8: “He assured me that he has tremendous respect for precedent, and that his approach is to not overturn cases due to a disagreement with how they were originally decided.”<br /><br />Borger: “But the document raises new questions for Collins and other Republicans about whether Alito still holds the view that the right to an abortion is not guaranteed in the constitution.”<br /><br />Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine): “It does raise concerns and so therefore the meeting will, you know, become critical.”<br /><br />Borger: “Senator Snowe's meeting with Judge Alito is later this week, but the public won't hear from the judge until he testifies in January. Bob?”<br /><br />Schieffer: “Gloria, give us a bottom line here quickly. Does this mean that Judge Alito may not get confirmed after all? A lot of people thought he was headed toward confirmation.”<br /><br />Borger: “I think this makes the path a little bit more rocky, Bob. There're going to be lots of moderate Republicans asking lots of tough questions. We just don't know where it's going to end up yet.” </blockquote>

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center