We develop a method to measure the strength of the absorption features in type la supernova (SN la) spectra and use it to make a quantitative comparisons between the spectra of type la supernovae at low and high redshifts. In this case study, we apply the method to 12 high-redshift (0.212 ≤ z ≤ 0.912) SNe la observed by the Supernova Cosmology Project. Through measurements of the strengths of these features and of the blueshift of the absorption minimum in Ca II H&K, we show that the spectra of the high-redshift SNe Ia are quantitatively similar to spectra of nearby SNe la (z < 0.15). One supernova in our high redshift sample, SN 2002fd at z = 0.279, is found to have spectral characteristics that are associated with peculiar SN 1991T/SN 1999aa-like supernovae. © ESO 2007.