Two decades ago, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito recommended that the Reagan administration consider "mitigating" the effects of the Roe-v-Wade ruling legalizing abortion.
He backed a stategy of trying to persuade justices to accept state regulations on abortion.
Papers released today by the National Archives show that in 1985 Alito argued a frontal assault on the abortion ruling might fail. Alito worked in the administration as an assistant to the solicitor general.
Alito wrote in a memo that "no one seriously believes that the court is about to overrule Roe-v-Wade." But he suggested the Justice Department signal that it regards the question of abortion "as live and open."
Alito has distanced himself from his earlier comments that there was no constitutional right to abortion. Senators say he's told them that he doesn't follow his personal views but rather interprets the law.