WASHINGTON (AP) - Supreme Court aspirant Sonia Sotomayor said Tuesday that she considers the question of abortion rights "settled precedent" and says there is a constitutional right to privacy.
The federal appeals court judge was asked at her confirmation hearing Tuesday to state how she felt about the landmark Roe versus Wade ruling legalizing abortion in 1973.
Sotomayor told the Senate Judiciary Committee that "there is a right of privacy. The court has found it in various places in the Constitution." She said this right is stated in the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure and in the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection of the law. She declined to say pointblank if she agreed with the high court's precedent on this volatile issue.
Answering a question later from Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Sotomayor said that "all precedents of the Supreme Court I consider settled law," subject to the possibility of subsequent reversal, such as when the court last month renounced a previous precedent in a reverse discrimination case. It ruled 5-4 on the side of white firefighters from New Haven, Conn., who challenged a decision by the city to discard the results of an employee test in which they fared better than minorities who took the examination.
See Wednesday's Post-Journal for a full account of the confirmation hearing.