WASHINGTON -President Bush's new pick for the Supreme Court has a track record on abortion that suggests a shift toward more restrictions.
Although there are no guarantees that Samuel Alito would vote to overturn the court's landmark ruling ensuring a woman's right to abortion, he has sharply different views from the justice he was picked to replace, Sandra Day O'Connor.
If confirmed by the Senate, the judge immediately would find himself in a tie-breaking role in pending abortion cases, possibly in his first months on the bench.
The timing of his confirmation hearings is key, as the Supreme Court in the next few weeks takes up its first significant abortion case in five years.
Alito, a Catholic, is opposed to abortion, his 90-year-old mother forthrightly told reporters in New Jersey. As an appeals court judge, he held that states can require women seeking abortions to notify their spouses. The Supreme Court disagreed.
"If he thinks that's OK, there are certainly other restrictions that he's going to be OK with," said Neil Siegel, who teaches law at Duke University. "He'll make a decisive difference."
6 months ago