Sotomayor Confronted On Abortion

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday that she considers the question of abortion rights to be “settled law” and said she believes there is a constitutional right to privacy.

Sotomayor was responding to a question about how she felt about Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion in 1973. While never directly saying she agreed with the ruling, she told Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that “all  precedents of the Supreme Court I consider settled law.”

She also said “there is a right of privacy. The court has found it in various places in the Constitution.” She said this right can be found in the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure and in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the law.

When Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked, “Do you think Roe v. Wade changed American society?” Sotomayor responded by saying, “Roe v. Wade looked at the Constitution and decided that the Constitution, as applied to a claim’s right, applied.”

Sen. Graham continued by asking, “Is there anything in the Constitution that says a state legislator or the Congress cannot regulate abortion or the definition of life in the first trimester?”

Sotomayor evaded this question, causing Sen. Graham to ask more pointedly, “Is there anything in the document (Constitution) written about abortion?”

“The word ‘abortion’ is not used in the Constitution, but the Constitution does have a broad provision concerning a liberty provision under the due process . . .” she said.

Meanwhile, a fifth pro-life protestor had to be removed from the hearing room since the proceedings began yesterday. A half dozen Capitol police were need to remove the struggling protestor who shoulted, “She’s a baby killer.”

Four protesters were arrested Monday, including Norma McCorvey, who is the “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case. All have been charged with unlawful conduct and disruption of Congress.

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