Promoting a falsehood he had previously told, Brit Hume failed to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham when he asserted that Alito's comments in his 1985 memo -- that he didn't believe in a constitutional right to abortion -- were the views of the Reagan administration, not his personal views.
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In an interview on the January 8 edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume failed to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) false suggestion that when Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote in a 1985 job application that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," he was simply representing the views of the Reagan administration. Graham stated: "[A]s an advocate and a lawyer for the Reagan administration, he [Alito] gave them advice consistent with the policies of the Reagan administration." Graham's mischaracterization of Alito's self-expressed views on a constitutional right to abortion recalls a false statement that Hume himself made shortly after Alito's November 1985 application to be an assistant attorney general was made public.
In fact, Alito explicitly stated in the application that this legal position reflected his own "strongly" held "personal" view that there is no constitutional right to abortion:
Most recently, it has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly. I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.
Notwithstanding Alito's clear statement that there was no difference between the legal arguments he had made and his personal views on those issues, on the November 14, 2005, edition of Fox News' Special Report, Hume stated that "these were not personal views he [Alito] was discussing," but rather "the legal arguments that he made as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department," as the weblog Think Progress noted at the time.
From the January 8 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): He has expressed his views. My question is are his views -- let's say on abortion -- the same as they were in 1985 when he wrote in an application, "The constitution does not protect a woman's right in this area?" Now, if that's true and he still holds to that, this would make him a very difficult nominee for many of us.
HUME: Let me turn to Senator Graham on that point. Senator, give us your thoughts about that position Judge Alito took. It was pretty straightforward, 20 years ago. Of course, that right to an abortion has been the law of the land now for 32 years. What is your view of Judge Alito on this matter?
GRAHAM: Well, he was applying for a job with the Reagan administration as a lawyer, and the position of the Reagan administration was that Roe v. Wade took away from elected officials the ability to have a say about the unborn. I believe that was a power grab by the courts. And as an advocate and a lawyer for the Reagan administration, he gave them legal advice consistent with the policies of the Reagan administration. He's the most qualified person to be nominated for the Supreme Court in 70 years in terms of judicial experience. He's been on the court for 15 years and there's absolutely no evidence that he's an ideologue: a person who will ignore the law to enact their own personal agenda. So, he's a solid conservative, and I think he'll be confirmed, probably on a party line vote in the committee.