Alito Hearings: Tuesday's Audio Highlights

Leahy and Kennedy confer at Alito's confirmation hearings.

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT, left) confers with Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) during the second day of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, Jan. 10, 2006. Democrats used Tuesday's proceedings to challenge Alito on a range of issues. Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee used Tuesday's hearings — the first of three days of questioning of Judge Samuel Alito — to challenge Supreme Court nominee on a variety of issues. Most Republicans used their allotted time to endorse or pose supportive questions.

Hear Highlights from Tuesday's Hearing

ON ABORTION:

Although Alito did not say how he would vote if faced with overturning Roe v. Wade, he did say that stare decisis, the legal doctrine of respecting past precedent, was an "important" — but "not inexorable'" — doctrine for judges. Despite a 1985 memo in which he stated that the Constitution did not protect the right to abortion, Alito said he would approach the issue with an open mind. And he asserted that the Constitution protects a right to privacy — a legal underpinning of Roe.

ON WIRETAPS AND SEARCHES:

Democrats accused Alito of consistently favoring the aggressive use of government authority at the expense of individual rights. Several Democrats cited Doe v. Groody. In that case, Alito wrote a dissenting opinion arguing that police had the right to strip search a 10-year-old girl and her mother, even though neither was a suspect or named in the search warrant.

ON DISCRIMINATION:

Democrats challenged Alito's personal and professional record on discrimination. On the personal front, Alito said he had no recollection of being a member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP), a group that Sen. Leahy described as being opposed to the admission of women and minorities to the school. Others said Alito had a habit of ruling against plaintiffs in discrimination cases.

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