Years later, when those documents were released when he was confirmed by the Supreme Court, he assured senators that even though that statement reflected his views in 1985, he would approach abortion cases with an open mind as judge, respecting precedents and without an ideological agenda. .
“When someone becomes a judge,” he said, “you really have to put aside the things that you did as a lawyer at earlier times in your legal career and think about legal issues like a judge. think about legal issues. »
Before Justice Alito joined the Supreme Court, he served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. As an appellate judge, he had no power to overrule Roe. But he sometimes seemed to be looking for ways to get rid of it in abortion cases, consistent with his formative advice during the Reagan administration.
Most notable was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the case in which the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe’s central position but allowed states to impose more restrictions in the first quarter. It was a challenge to a Pennsylvania law imposing requirements before an abortion, including a waiting period, parental consent for minors and notification of a woman’s husband.
Before reaching the High Court, the case was brought before a Third Circuit panel which included Judge Alito. The other two justices on the panel voted to keep most of the law, but they struck down the provision requiring spousal notification. Judge Alito wrote separately challenging that part, saying it should also stand.
This requirement, he argued, did not impose an “undue burden” on access to abortion, so it was enough that “Pennsylvania has a legitimate interest in furthering the husband’s interest in the fate of the fetus”. He wrote that judges should also not question the decisions of the state legislature on the appropriateness of several exceptions it has included for certain cases.