“No one seriously believes that the court is about to overrule Roe v. Wade,” the current Supreme Court nominee wrote in an internal Justice Department memo on May 30, 1985. Referring to a high court decision to review two abortion-related cases at the time, he asked, “What can be made of this opportunity to advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling … and in the meantime, of mitigating its effects.”

The memo was among several hundred pages of documents dating from Alito’s 1981-1987 tenure in the Justice Department, released on the day the Supreme Court heard arguments in an abortion case for the first time in five years.