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Alito's Way (of Answering Questions About Abortion)

January 12, 2006

Or should I have said: of “Answering” Questions About Abortion?

Yesterday, Senators Arlen Specter and Charles Schumer questioned Judge Alito on the issue of abortion. It went something (but not quite) like this…

“I thought you said there wasn’t any apple jelly in the fridge.”

“When I looked in there this morning I didn’t see it. Don’t think I don’t sense the animosity implied in your question. Look, if somebody asks if we have apple jelly again, I will look for it again.”

“Even though you said there wasn’t any in there this morning?”

“I looked in the fridge, and I didn’t see any apple jelly. So I didn’t believe there was any apple jelly there. Besides, Dad said he didn’t want any punk kids eating up all the apple jelly anyway, so it was all good.”

“You looked in the fridge, and you didn’t see any apple jelly. Do you really think there’s none there? Look, your Dad’s gone off to work now, you’re not going to get in trouble. Is there any apple jelly, or not?”

“I didn’t see it. Yeah, Dad would have gave me a knuckle sandwich if I’d put it out. But I didn’t see any of the goddamned stuff, anyway. Ok? Look, if we were having toast right now, I’d look again, I’d look wherever you wanted me to look. Ok?”

“I’m not asking you ‘will you look?’ I’m asking you whether you honestly believe that there is no apple jelly. I mean, you seemed pretty fucking sure about it this morning. Nothing’s changed since then. Your sister put a bottle of water in there a minute ago, but it’s not like somebody went to the motherfucking supermarket and bought apple jelly today. Do you really still think there’s no apple jelly in there, or have you changed your mind?”

“All’s I can say is, if someone wants toast with apple jelly, I’ll take another look. If you tell me it’s on the shelf behind the mayonnaise, I’ll look on the shelf behind the mayonnaise.”

“That’s not what I’m asking. You’re almost a grown man. I’m well aware that you know how to look for something in the refrigerator. You made a direct statement as to the contents of the refrigerator. You did so confidently, you arrogant, boastful bastard. Do you still believe what you said to be true?”

“Asshead, I would look for it if any of you fuckers wanted it on toast. Hell, depending on just how high we were, and how bad we needed munchies, we might think of all kinds of fucking places to look for it. And I’ll do it, I’ll look any-fucking-where you cocksuckers want me to look.”


“I’m not asking you about getting high, or the munchies. I’m not interested in how willing your ugly ass is to look, nor in how many places you’d look. I don’t give a fuck if you’re willing to look in the goddamn egg tray and the butter compartment. You can look in the motherfucking crisper, for all I care. I want to know if you, right now, believe there is any motherfucking apple jelly in the fridge. That’s it. Your opinion on the content’s of the refrigerator. I mean, you didn’t have a problem admitting that you were wrong about your hockey skates being in your closet once you realized that your sister had returned them. You didn’t say you ‘d have to look for them again, you were able to state positively that they are in fact there. (Until I borrow them when I leave.) Your sister’s kind of hot, by the way.”

“Shut up about my sister. Ok, the hockey skate thing was different, I didn’t have to look again because I remembered seeing her put them in there. I was simply mistaken when I said they weren’t there before. With the jelly, you’re asking me to divine what is in the refrigerator without again looking.”

“No, I’m not, you unnecessarily obstinate meathead. I’m asking you about what you believe about the contents of the refrigerator, and whether you stand by your previous assertion as to the absence of apple jelly.”

“The refrigerator contains lots of things. Many people have found things in there. Many people could offer insight as to what things can be found in there.”

“I’m going to ignore the fact that you didn’t actually fucking say anything just now, and plow ahead. Does the refrigerator contain milk?”

“Of course it does, it’s right there in the front when you open it up.”

“See how easy that was? Why can’t you answer about the apple jelly the same way? Without all the ‘I’ll take a look’ bullshit. Simple fucking question, man.”

“Because answering the milk question requires simply visualizing what I saw last time I opened the refrigerator, and the milk, being in front, stands out as obvious. When you ask about apple jelly, the question requires visualizing, not just what is obvious upon opening the door, but about what might be at the back of a shelf between the cocktail sauce and crab dip, or concealed in a rack on the door behind a bottle of lite Italian dressing. I simply cannot give an answer without actually going through the searching process. I’m simply not willing to conjecture about what I might find, especially in the absence of input and insight as to what items to look behind. I mean, should I even bother looking behind the package of sliced turkey, or is that just absurd? What about the leftover chop suey in the plastic bowl? What lies hidden behind it? Apple jelly? I can’t say.”

“Look, I know you’re not going to answer the question. I didn’t expect that your belligerent ass would. I don’t know if we can trust you again, in light of your petty and borderline irrational deference to Daddy’s dictates. I got to tell you, man, I find your refusal to answer troubling.”

“Aww, man, fuck off.”

[Democracy Now! has actual partial transcripts of the hearings.]

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