"I personally believe very strongly [that] the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
That's one Samuel Alito
, trying to establish his right-wing credentials in an application to work for the Reagan administration in 1985.
Roe v. Wade is clearly not safe with Alito on the Court, and any Democrat who supports his nomination should be tarred and feathered.
Could he have changed his mind over the course of twenty years? Of course. If that is the case, Alito is free to disavow his statement. If he won't, there is absolutely no reason to suppose that his position on Roe is any different today.
But as I've pointed out before, even if we could get all the Dems to go against Alito, it wouldn't be enough. We need some Republicans as well, which means we need the public. This will involve a massive PR campaign to demonstrate the threat that Alito represents. Fortunately, this is already getting started; the New York Times
says that "a coalition of liberal groups is preparing a national television advertising campaign against the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. that seeks to move the debate over his selection beyond abortion rights and focus instead on subjects like police searches and employment discrimination."
I don't mind not focusing on abortion, though I don't think they should shy away from it either. It should be part of a larger, more general message, which is that Alito has demonstrated a total lack of respect for individual liberties. This includes abortion, but it also includes your right to use contraception (I doubt that most people realize that the only thing that rules out a ban on birth control pills is a Supreme Court ruling), your right not to be strip-searched for no reason, etc. etc.
Alito should be referred to as often as possible as "Strip-search Sammy." It's kind of stupid, but this type of thing works - when it comes to PR, Thoreau's advice is usually best: simplify, simplify.
Defeating Alito is still a long shot, but that's no reason not to make the effort. What do we have to lose? (Put away any notion that fighting the Bush administration over this nomination would hurt the Democrats. I can't believe that people still don't get this, but people want
the Democrats to stand up to the GOP.)