Post Date: January 13, 2006

This morning, Harvard Law Professors Charles Fried and Laurence Tribe appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of a panel of legal experts testifying on the nomination of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court.

A former U.S. solicitor general, Fried fielded questions about Alito’s positions on Roe v. Wade and the concept of “unitary executive power.” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked him to comment on the differences between Alito’s handling of abortion-related questions and Chief Justice Roberts’ responses to similar inquiries. Fried called Alito’s answers “admirable” and “scrupulous,” noting that Alito refused to give a commitment regarding how he would vote in future cases.

Tribe explained to the committee that he was neither supporting nor opposing Alito’s nomination, but said his role in appearing before the panel was to remind the senators not to vote with their “eyes wide shut.” Tribe commented on two main issues: abortion precedents and presidential powers. He cautioned the panel that Alito had indicated his unwillingness to defend the special liberties stated in Roe and raised questions about Alito’s support of unitary executive powers.