Why aren’t they proud?

I’m confused by this New York Times article.

Alito Downplays ’85 Abortion Statement

”I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion,” wrote Alito, who was then working for the solicitor general’s office.

Alito’s supporters say there’s nothing surprising in that statement.

He ”joins a long list of jurists who have written that Roe” — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion — ”was wrongly decided,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a Judiciary Committee member.

”The question is whether he will put his personal views aside as any judge should and base his rulings on what the Constitution says,” he added. ”His long track record as a federal appeals court judge shows that he has indeed put his personal views on abortion aside, and I have every confidence he will continue to do so.”

Alito, 55, has told senators in his two weeks of private meetings that he has ”great respect” for Roe v. Wade as a precedent, but he did not commit to upholding it.

Some abortion rights groups already have come out against Alito because of his work as a federal appellate judge, including a dissent on an appeals court decision striking down a law requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

But White House spokesman Steven Schmidt said Alito’s 15 years as a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shows ”a clear pattern of modesty, respect for precedent and judicial restraint.”

Why are Cornyn and the White House backing off from this? If they believe abortion is wrong — if they believe abortion is murder — and believe that Roe was wrongly decided, why are they soft-pedaling Alito’s conservatism? Why aren’t they saying, “Hell yeah, he’s pro-life; that’s why we nominated him?”

What does it tell us about (a) the White House’s read of public opinion, and (b) the White House’s opinion of the public’s intelligence?

Why aren’t they proud?

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