When a Supreme Court nominee is announced, the first thing we in Washington must do is follow the paper trail.

Since Judge Samuel Alito has been sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for 15 years, it is much easier to know where he stands on the constitutional issues that are racking this country right now. Harriet Miers had no paper trail and that is why the right and the left both opposed her and forced her to withdraw her nomination.

One of the major issues facing Alito is where he stands on abortion. All you have to do is read his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to figure out where his feelings are.

The case had to do with a requirement that a wife prove she had notified her husband that she intended to have an abortion. The Supreme Court sided with Planned Parenthood and overruled Alito.

Had it upheld the decision, households all over America would have been shaken. Here is what could have happened:

Nancy comes into the living room, where Horace is watching television.

Nancy: I have something important to tell you.

Horace: Can it wait until the game is over?

Nancy: It is very important.

Horace: What could be more important than the Redskins' offense?

Nancy: Remember when we drove to Maine and stopped at the cute little bed-and-breakfast in Bangor?

Horace (not taking his eyes off the set): Yeah. It was a nice trip.

Nancy: Do you remember the bedroom?

Horace: Yeah. It was a nice bedroom. Jeez, the Redskins just fumbled.

Nancy: All right, we're getting somewhere.

Horace: They can still tie the game.

Nancy: It was a beautiful bed with a spring mattress and pink sheets.

Horace: Why do we have to live in the past when I'm watching television?

Nancy: I'm getting to the point. We made love in that bedroom.

Horace: We're married. What's the big deal? We also made love in Bar Harbor and Nantucket.

Nancy: There is one problem. You didn't have any protection in Bangor and all the drugstores were closed.

Horace: It wasn't my fault.

Nancy: Yes, it was, because I'm pregnant and I'm too old to have a baby.

Horace (jumping out of his chair): He dropped a pass! The dummy let it fall right out of his hands. We can't have a good quarterback if his receivers don't catch the ball.

Nancy: I'm not ready for more babies. We both agreed when our children grew up we wouldn't have any more.

Horace: A field goal should tie the game.

Nancy: I'll be frank. I want to have an abortion.

Horace: He made it! (turns to Nancy) Why have you brought up the subject in the middle of the game? You know Sunday is my only day off.

Nancy: The law says I have to inform my husband if I have an abortion.

Horace: Do what you want.

Nancy: You have to sign legal papers that I notified you.

Horace: I will after the game is over. As long as you're up, will you get me a beer?

(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services