Supreme Court nominee Sandra D. O'Connor yesterday declined to provide specific answers to senators inquiring about her views on the Supreme Court's rulings on abortion.
Thus, after two days of politicking on Capitol Hill, her views on the one issue that has stirred controversy about her nomination remained unknown outside of her comments Tuesday that she is personally opposed to abortion.
O'Connor told those who asked for more details that she felt it inappropriate to comment on any specific court decisions.
Her responses on all substantive issues were vague during the day. She told Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), a Judiciary Committee member that the Constitution was a "wonderful document." She discussed camping in the Grand Tetons with Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.). And she remained tight-lipped with reporters, even when trapped for a moment with them in an elevator that refused to stop at the proper floor.
Sens. Roger W. Jepsen (R-Iowa) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), both staunch anti-abortionists, said they remained uncommitted on how to vote on her nomination after chatting with her yesterday."She doesn't want to go onto the bench and be disqualified for giving her opinions ahead of time," Jepsen said.
O'Connor began her day at the White House where she met with President Reagan for an hours. "We're delighted to have her here and look forward to when she'll be here, you might say permanently," Reagan said.
Reagan joined leaders of both parties in predicting confirmation without difficulty for the first woman Supreme Court nominee.
Meanwhile, the Moral Majority yesterday disputed press accounts indicating that the group is backing away from its early position that the nomination of O'Connor was a "mistake."
"Our position has not changed any," Moral Majority spokesman Cal Thomas said in a telegram he said he sent to the White House.
Tuesday, Thomas said the group was "working very hard to fall in line behind the president." He described the Moral Majority's early opposition by saying "we should have shut up and not said anything."
The one critical encounter so far missing from O'Conner's tour of Washington is one with Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a conservative leader who reportedly hinted of a possible filibuster immediately after her nomination.
Justice Department officials said a meeting might be schedule for today.
Among the senators, Mathias had the longest meeting yet, and hours, with O'Connor. He said he discussed a "wide varitety" of issues, including civil rights, the rights of criminal defendants, jurisidiction of the courts, the rules of evidence, "the whole range of matters in which justices of the Supreme Court are involved."
But he indicated that the discussion was general. "We were in total agreement that the personal views of judges were not as important as the fact that the judges apply the law . . . She made it clear she would apply the law."
O'Connor also met with Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Nancy Landon Kassebaum (R-Kan.).