A reasonable question

August 06, 1991

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that abortion-rights supporters and opponents in equal numbers -- six out of 10 surveyed -- believed Clarence Thomas should publicly state his views on Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which extended an unlimited right to a woman to obtain an abortion in early pregnancy.

When confirmation hearings begin in a month on Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court, it is all but certain that he will be asked -- and that he will answer -- the question of whether he might vote to overturn the 1954 school desegregation decision, Brown vs. Board of Education.

Is there any less reason to insist upon an unequivocal answer on the question, would you vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade? If he answers the question, then senators could vote for his confirmation according to their assessment of their constituents' wishes in this important question. If he refuses to answer, then each senator could, on that basis, in good conscience decline to vote for Thomas' confirmation.

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