Thursday, November 03, 2005

Alito and "Personhood"

Gerard Bradley has an article in the National Review on a ruling Alexander v. Whitman by the Third Circuit. The court ruled, with Alito concurring, that it was constitutional for the state of New Jersey to prevent parents from suing medical facilities under a wrongful death law if their unborn child dies before birth. The court based their decision on the idea that unborn children, regardless of whether or not they are human beings, aren't "constitutional persons" under the precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade.

Alito writes in his brief concurrence, "I am in almost complete agreement with the court's opinion, but I write to comment briefly on two points. First, I think that the court's suggestion that there could be "human beings" who are not "constitutional persons" is unfortunate. I agree with the essential point that the court is making: that the Supreme Court has held that a fetus is not a "person" within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the reference to constitutional non-persons, taken out of context, is capable of misuse."

In other news, Father John Neuhaus reports that Judge Alito is a "careful reader of FIRST THINGS."

Robert Bork weighs in: "We may be confident, I think, that a Justice Alito, like Chief Justice John Roberts, will not vote to create new and hitherto unsuspected constitutional rights. He will not share the extreme liberationist philosophy, one of the hangovers from the 1960s, that characterizes the current Court majority. But, also like Roberts, we do not know whether he will vote to overturn the worst constitutional travesties of the past. And, if he is the superb lawyer he is reputed to be, we will not learn that at his hearings either."

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