2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Bush's Supreme Court pick
says he has learned to interpret
the law and not advocate
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Samuel Alito
who argued against abortion rights in 1985 was
"an advocate seeking a job" with the conserva-
tive Reagan administration, the Alito who is
now a U.S. Supreme Court nominee told Demo-
The current version "thinks he's a wiser per-
son" with "a better grasp and understanding about
constitutional rights and liberties," senators said
as Alito tried to play down a 20-year-old docu-
ment in which he asserted "the Constitution does
not protect a right to an abortion."
At the same time, some anti-abortion groups
warned Alito not to go too far if he hopes to
retain their support.
"A nominee who is willing to take the seem-
ingly mandated Roe oath, whereby they testify
that it is settled law, never to be overturned, is not
the type of justice worthy of pro-life support,"
said Stephen Peroutka, chairman of the National
Pro-Life Action Center.
President Bush nominated Alito last month as
the replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day
O'Connor, who has been a crucial swing vote on
contentious issues including abortion during her
24-year high court career.
Alito was Bush's second choice after White
House counsel Harriet Miers withdrew under
criticism from conservatives.
Liberals say they now are concerned that Alito
and recently confirmed Chief Justice John Rob-
erts would swing the Supreme Court to the right
and perhaps overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v.
Wade decisionsthat established abortion rights.
Alito, who served for 15 years as a judge on
the 3rd- U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, worked
Capitol Hill yesterday following the release of
his 1985 application to be deputy assistant attor-
In that document, the younger Alito touted
his work in the solicitor general's office against
abortion, work "in which I personally believe
Republicans said there was nothing wrong
"This man is a conservative," said Sen. Saxby
Chambliss of Georgia. "He's been a conservative
all his life, and in 1985 when he was applying for
a job, he reiterated that fact in his application."
But the 55-year-old judge said yesterday that
things are different now, Democratic Sens.
Dianne Feinstein of California and Edward Ken-
nedy of Massachusetts said after meeting with
GOP rejects Iraq timetable request
The Republican-controlled Senate easily defeated a Democratic effort yesterday
to pressure President Bush to outline a timetable for a phased withdrawal of U.S.
troops from Iraq. It then overwhelmingly endorsed a weaker statement calling on
the administration to explain its Iraq policy.
Senators also voted to endorse the Bush administration's military tribunals for pros-
ecuting foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but to
allow the detainees to appeal their detention status and punishments to a federal court.
On the question of a timetable for troop withdrawal, senators rejected the Demo-
crats' proposal 58-40. Democratic leaders had advanced the measure in the wake
of declining public support for a conflict that has claimed more than 2,000 U.S.
lives and cost more than $200 billion.
Republicans countered with their own honbinding alternative that the Senate
approved on a 79-19 vote. Five Democrats sided with the majority party.
Rice announces Gaza border deal
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice played the heavy yesterday to help
seal a deal that was eluding Israelis and Palestinians and clouding a hopeful
moment for Mideast peace.
The agreement that Rice announced on opening Gaza's borders also test-
ed her willingness to lay personal prestige on the line for a bargain that
might not hold.
During all-night negotiations in a Jerusalem hotel suite named for slain Israeli
peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin, Rice let both sides know she wasn't leaving without
agreemet on questions that arose from Israel's decision to end three decades of
military occupation in the Gaza Strip.
Bush tells China to be more like Taiwan
President Bush prodded China today to grant more political freedom to
its 1.3 billion people and held up archrival Taiwan as a society that success-
fully moved from repression to democracy as it opened its economy.
In remarks sure to rile Beijing, Bush suggested China should follow Tai-
"Modern Taiwan is free and democratic and prosperous. By embracing
freedom at all levels, Taiwan has delivered prosperity to its people and cre-
ated a free and democratic Chinese society," the president said.
Bush made his remarks in the advance text of a speech that was to be the
cornerstone address of his Asian trip. From Japan, he will continue to South
Korea, China and Mongolia.
Coalition kills 30 fighters in border offensive
U.S. and Iraqi forces swept through most of an insurgent stronghold near the
Syrian border yesterday, encountering pockets of fierce resistance, destroying
five unexploded car bombs and killing at least 30 guerrilla fighters, the U.S.
Three U.S. Marines died during the last two days of the operation to clea the
town of Obeidi, a military statement said. More than 80 insurgents have been killed,
mostly in airstrikes, in the same period, it said.
Separately, three U.S. Army soldiers were killed yesterday in a roadside bombing
near Baghdad, the U.S. command said.
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Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) shows Supreme Court nominee Samuel Aluto his Capitol Hill office In
"He did indicate that he's an older person, that
he's learned more, that he thinks he's a wiser per-
son and he has a better grasp and understanding
about constitutional rights and liberties," said
Kennedy, a senior member of the Judiciary Com-
mittee that will question Alito at his confirma-
tion hearing beginning Jan. 9.
The 1985 Alito was a young conservative law-
yer hoping to advance, said Feinstein, also a
member of the committee.
"He said, 'I was an advocate seeking a job; it
was a political job and that was 1985. I'm now a
judge, I've been on the circuit court for 15 years
and it's very different. I'm not an advocate, I
don't give heed to my personal views, what I do is
interpret the law,"' Feinstein said.
Feinstein said she believes Alito is telling the
truth, while Kennedy was a little more suspicious.
Alito has told senators in his two weeks of private
meetings that he has "great respect" for Roe v.
Wade as a precedent, but he has not said he would
vote to uphold it.
Alito said he wrote the memo as "a member of
the Justice Department that was interested in get-
ting a job," Kennedy said. "So I asked him, 'Why
shouldn't we consider that the answers you're giv-
ing today are an application for another job?"'
Senators said that Alito can expect to be ques-
tioned carefully during his January confirma-
"He's obviously an intelligent and informed
nominee, but the real criteria that all of us look
for is whether the nominee is going to have a core
commitment to the constitutional values and the
rights and liberties and interest of the American
people," Kennedy said.
U.S. forces find 173 tortured Iraqis
amid Sunni accusations
the Interior Ministry
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's prime
minister said yesterday that 173 Iraqi
detainees - malnourished and showing
signs of torture - were found at an Inte-
rior Ministry basement lockup seized by
U.S. forces in Baghdad. The discovery
appeared to validate Sunni complaints of
abuse by the Shiite-controlled ministry.
The revelation about the mostly Sunni
Arab detainees by Prime Minister Ibra-
him al-Jaafari was deeply embarrassing
to the government as critics in the United
States and Britain question the U.S. strat-
egy for building democracy in a land
wracked by insurgency, terrorism and
"I was informed that there were 173
detainees held at an Interior Ministry pris-
on and they appear to be malnourished,"
al-Jaafari said of Sunday's raid at a deten-
tion center in the fashionable Jadriyah
district. "There is also some talk that they
were subjected to some kind of torture."
One detainee had been crippled by polio
and others suffered "different wounds,"
the deputy interior minister, Maj. Gen.
Hussein Kamal, said without elaboration.
Al-Jaafari, a Shiite, promised a full
investigation and punishment for anyone
found guilty of torture.
In Washington, a State Department
spokesman said the Bush administration
found the reports troubling.
"We don't practice torture, and we
don't believe that others should prac-
tice torture," said the spokesman, Adam
Ereli. "We think that there should be an
investigation and those who are respon-
sible should be held accountable."
But the head of Iraq's largest Sunni
political party said he had spoken to al-
Jaafari and other government officials
about torture at Interior Ministry deten-
tion centers, including the one where the
detainees were found.
Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, leader of the
Iraqi Islamic Party, said the government
routinely dismissed his complaints, calling
the prisoners "former regime elements,"
meaning Saddam Hussein loyalists.
U.S. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst, who com-
manded the troops in Sunday's raid,
said American and Iraqi forces plan to
carry out checksat every .Interior Min-
istry detention facility in Baghdad, the
Los Angeles Times reported. It was not
immediately clear why U.S. forces chose
to move in on Sunday.
"We're going to hit every single one
of them, every single one of them," the
Times quoted Horst as saying.
Sunni politicians have been complain-
ing of torture, abuse and arbitrary arrest
by special commandos of the Shiite-con-
trolled Interior Ministry since the current
government took power last April.
Sunnis have also accused the ministry
of being behind "death squads," rumored
to be made up of former members of Shi-
ite militias, which target Sunnis in repri-
sal for the killings of Shiites by Sunni
Arab insurgents. Interior Minister Bayn
Jabr has denied any role in such killings.
Kamal, the deputy interior minister,
was quoted by CNN as saying the skin
"In order to search for one terrorist, they
torture them bruta
of innocent people
of some of the detainees in the Baghdad
center had peeled off parts of their bod-
ies. He later declined to confirm the alle-
gation to The Associated Press.
Sunni Arab complaints have taken on
new urgency because of American efforts
to encourage a big Sunni turnout in the
Dec. 15 parliamentary elections in hopes
of undermining Sunni support for the
insurgency. In recent days, Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, British Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw and U.N. Secretary-
General Kofi Annan have all visited Iraq
to promote Sunni participation.
U.S. officials have also been pressing
the majority Shiites and their Kurdish
allies to reach out to the minority com-
munity - which dominated the country
during Saddam's regime.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
and the top U.S. commander in Iraq,
Gen. George Casey, have expressed
their "deep concern" over the condition
of the detainees "at the highest level" of
the Iraqi government, a U.S. Embassy
"We agree with Iraq's leaders that the
mistreatment of detainees is a serious
matter and totally unacceptable," the
But the case also raises troubling ques-
- Mohsen Abdul-Hamid
Leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party
tions about the training and discipline of
Iraqi security forces, which Washington
hopes can assume a greater role in fighting
the insurgents so that U.S. and other inter-
national troops can begin to go home.
Interior Ministry commandos, who are
separate from the Iraqi army, spearhead
the Iraqi government's campaign against
the insurgency. Those commandos arrest-
ed more than 300 suspects last week in
Diyala province after attacks on police
checkpoints and a truck bomb that killed
about 20 people in a Shiite village.
Many Sunnis fear that methods used
by the Interior Ministry forces - known
by fearsome names such as the Scorpions
and the Wolf Brigade - are setting the
stage for sectarian war.
"In order to search for one terrorist,
they detain hundreds of innocent people
and torture them brutally," Sunni politi-
cian Abdul-Hamid said.
Kamal, the deputy interior minister,
said all detainees found at the center
had been arrested under legal warrants
issued by judges.
"They were mistreated and you know
what happens in prison,"Kamal told The
Associated Press. "We will try to make
sure that such acts are not repeated in the
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