I would prefer that Alito not say that Roe, specifically, deserves “great respect” (or any respect at all), but I wouldn’t be too worked up about it. And we don’t know that Alito said that. The “great respect” line is Senator Lieberman’s characterization of what Alito said. We can’t take it to the bank. The same Washington Post story that carries (and over-reads) that characterization says this: ” ‘I asked him whether it made a difference to him if he disagreed with the initial decision but it had been reaffirmed several times since then,’ Collins told reporters. ‘I was obviously referring to Roe in that question. He assured me that he has tremendous respect for precedent and that his approach is to not overturn cases due to a disagreement with how they were originally decided.’ “
Obviously, Alito can’t be saying that disagreement with how a case was originally decided is not a factor in the decision to overrule–that would be insane. He’s saying that it’s not the sole factor, which is a reasonable conclusion.