Mary Walker: Respect precedent

Roe v. Wade stands as the most upheld Supreme Court constitutional precedent in our history. In the 33 years since the Supreme Court found that a constitutional right to privacy includes a woman's right to obtain an abortion, this precedent has been upheld 38 times. Whether you agree with the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, you should be alarmed that our newest Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, has indicated he does not feel bound by Supreme Court decisions and precedents.

The next issue and precedent threatened by the increasingly political decision-making process of our Supreme Court just may be the one you care about.

In 1985, Alito said the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion. In his confirmation hearing last week, he said nothing to indicate he had changed his position on this matter, nor did he feel compelled to say that his job would be to uphold the Constitution in this matter.

To those who support handgun possession: Imagine your incredulity if a Supreme Court nominee had been quoted in the past as saying, "I do not believe that the Constitution protects the right to bear handguns" and yet today said that he was competent to handle the issue "with an open mind." I'm fairly certain you would not stand for that.

Again, putting aside the specific issue at hand, are any of us comfortable that our Supreme Court justices can now base their decisions not on constitutional precedent but on the political climate, or worse, their own moral, ethical and political views?

Mary Walker


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