During her nomination to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Clement was asked, "Do you believe the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman's right to have an abortion?"
Her reply: "The Supreme Court has clearly held that the right to privacy guaranteed by the Constitution includes the right to have an abortion. The cases handed down by the Supreme Court on the right to abortion have reaffirmed and redefined this right, and the law is settled in that regard. If confirmed, I will faithfully apply Supreme Court precedent."
I don't think this statement at all disqualifies Judge Clement from being opposed to Roe. As a member of a lower court she is held to the rulings of the Supreme Court and this statement seems to recognize that. Even though Bill Pryor is obviously opposed to abortion, when answering question before the Judiciary Committee he said, "I have a record as attorney general that is separate from my personal beliefs," he told Hatch. "I am able to put aside personal beliefs and follow the law, even when I strongly disagree with it."
A similar thing occurred with Charles Pickering during his confirmation hearings:
"Both Senators Feinstein and Cantwell (D-WA) asked questions about abortion, referring to pro-life positions Pickering had taken while a state senator in the 1970s. ‘Senator, I know the difference between a political decision and a judicial decision,' he responded to Cantwell, whose questioning was much more aggressive. ‘I would follow the law.'"
I'd also point to what Hadley Arkes said at National Review, "I would vouch for Joy Clement myself, and I would vouch for Edith Jones. But as I commend Joy Clement, I open myself to these searching questions from friends who have suffered the lessons of experience: If we know little, really, about her philosophy or jural principles, how do know that she will not alter when she is suddenly showered with acclaim from the law schools at Harvard and Columbia? Will she not be lured as she is praised in measures ever grander, as a jurist of high rank, as she "grows" with each step ever more "moderate" and liberal? Those who commend her face the risk of joining the ranks of those who offered assurance on Kennedy and Souter, and lost forevermore their credibility.....
But on the other hand, Edith Clement may be the stealth candidate who, for once, delivers to the other side the jolt of an unwelcome surprise. She may be the disarming candidate who truly disarms before she goes on to do the most important work that a conservative jurist at this moment can do."