Alito told Ted Kennedy in Roe v. That he respected Wade, according to excerpts from the late senator’s diary in The New York Times.


Then-Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito told Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy in late 2005 that Roe v. He said he respected Wade and believed his right to privacy was “settled” in law, according to the late senator’s diary entries included in a new biography. and published in The New York Times.

“‘I believe in precedent,'” then-Justice Alito told Kennedy, according to a portion of the diary recorded and later transcribed by the senator. “‘People would see that I agree with that.’

Excerpts from the diary appear in “Ted Kennedy: A Life,” by John A. Farrell, which published excerpts in the Times on Monday.

“‘I think there’s a right to privacy. I think it’s enshrined as part of the 14th amendment and the fifth amendment’s freedom clause,'” Alito said in the paper, according to Farrell. “‘So I agree there’s a right to privacy. I believe in history. I think that’s about as far as it can go in the Roe case.’”

Alito’s assurances to Kennedy, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, did little to sway Kennedy, who ultimately voted against Alito’s confirmation. The remarks stand in stark contrast to what Alito said about Roe in 2022, when he wrote the high court’s opinion to overturn the 1973 decision and nearly 50 years of precedent.

The Senate confirmed Alito in January 2006 by a vote of 58-42. Kennedy died in 2009.

The newspaper, according to Farrell, says Kennedy confronted Alito in a 1985 memo he wrote as a lawyer for the Reagan administration that said the Constitution did not protect the right to an abortion.

“Justice Alito assured Mr. Kennedy that he should not place much value on the note,” Farrell wrote. “He was looking for a promotion and wrote what his bosses wanted to hear. “I was a younger person,” said Justice Alito. “I have matured a lot.”

Alito wrote in the June decision that Roe “was egregiously wrong from the start,” adding, “Its reasoning was deeply flawed, and the decision has had pernicious consequences. And far from bringing about a national solution to the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have fueled controversy and divisiveness. they deepened”.

The 5-4 majority opinion left the issue up to the states, and already, laws banning abortion or severely restricting the procedure have gone into effect in a dozen states since the ruling.

During his confirmation hearing in 2006, Alito promised to keep an open mind in abortion cases and to respect stare decisis, a legal principle in which precedent is becoming increasingly important.

“Today, if the matter were to come before me,” he said in 2006, “if I am fortunate enough to confirm and the matter was to come before me, the first question would be the question that we discussed. , and that is the question of stare decisis. And if the analyzes were to go beyond that point, then I would approach the question with an open mind and listen to the arguments that were made.’

Susan Walsh/AP

Several other justices who agreed with Alito’s decision earlier this year also gave senators very measured views on Roe in their confirmation proceedings, including Neil Gorsuch, former President Donald Trump’s first judicial appointment.

“I was going to walk out the door. It’s not what judges do,” Gorsuch said during his confirmation hearing when asked how he would react if Trump called for Roe to be overturned.