'Appalled' Princeton classmate of Justice Alito’s on abortion draft opinion: 'I wouldn’t have given this a C'

On The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s former Princeton classmate weighed in on his leaked draft opinion signaling the repeal of Roe v. Wade. Susan Squier, a professor at Penn State University, was less than impressed with what she’d read.

“I’m trained as a literature and medicine scholar, so I pulled up the whole document and I read it,” Squier said. “And as someone who works with literature, I noticed nuance and word choice, and I was appalled at what I saw.”

As many others have, Squier scrutinized Alito’s decision to invoke 17th century jurist Matthew Hale in his draft opinion. Hale put women to death for witchcraft, and believed women had no ownership whatsoever over their own bodies. Hale believed that women belonged to their fathers until they got married, at which point they became the property of their husbands.

“When I read it I thought, ‘I wouldn’t have given this a C if he had been my undergraduate student.’ It was very badly sourced. He didn’t consider the context at all,” Squier said. “And this from a man, I’m sorry to say, who was trained as a historian at Princeton, as well as a political scientist.”

Video transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

SUSAN SQUIER: He trained as a literature and medicine scholar. So I pulled up the whole document, and I read it. And as someone who works with literature, I noticed nuance and word choice. And I was appalled at what I saw.

KYLIE MAR: On the last word with Lawrence O'Donnell Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's former Princeton classmate, Penn State University Professor Susan Squire weighed in on the justice's leaked draft opinions signaling the end of federally mandated abortion rights.

In the draft, Alito invoked Matthew Hale, a 17th century jurist who put women to death for witchcraft and believed women had no ownership over their own bodies, which did not sit well with Squire.

SUSAN SQUIER: When I read it, I thought I wouldn't have given this a C if he had been my undergraduate student. It was very badly sourced. He didn't consider the context at all. And this from a man-- I'm sorry to say, who is trained as a historian at Princeton, as well as a political scientist.

KYLIE MAR: Squire also called out Alito for using language in his draft, parroting Mississippi's restrictive gestational age act, which is law in Mississippi but not the rest of the country.

SUSAN SQUIER: That language seeps into the document. So he's referring to unborn children rather than fetuses. I just found it stunningly duplicitous, and badly argued, and shoddy, and embarrassing.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

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