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FLASHBACK: - Will Specter Chair Judiciary?
Human Events Online ^ | August 18, 2003 | by Timothy P. Carney

Posted on 11/07/2004 8:38:54 PM PST by vannrox

FLASHBACK: August 18, 2003
Will Specter Chair Judiciary?

by Timothy P. Carney
Posted Nov 4, 2004

[Editor's note: This article originally appeared August 18, 2003]

Liberal Sen. Arlen Specter (R.-Pa.) is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005. This means the confirmation of the next Supreme Court justice could be presided over by a pro-choice senator who holds that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided and who helped sink the Supreme Court nomination of conservative judge Robert Bork.

If voters do not oust Specter in next yearâ??s primary or general election, the Judiciary gavel -- and control over confirmations to the federal courts -- will fall into Specterâ??s hands unless a few powerful GOP senators are willing to stop it.

The simplest solution to the problem would take a personal sacrifice by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa). When the partyâ??s term limits on committee chairmen force Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) to give up the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee at the end of the current Congress, Grassley will be next in line for that position. To assume that role, however, he would need to surrender the gavel of the powerful Finance Committee.

But, according to a Grassley spokesman, the Iowa senator (who faces an easy reelection this year) is unwilling to surrender Finance, which drafts all tax law and Medicare legislation. That leaves Specter as Hatchâ??s heir-apparent at Judiciary.

New Senate Republican Conference rules limit senators to eight years as chairmen. The only other time seniority is bypassed is if the senior senator on a committee already holds another chairmanship.

Hatchâ??s eight years expire at the end of the current Congress. (The few months of GOP control before the Jeffords defection in the 107th Congress are not counted against term-limits.) Grassley, who is serving his first full year as Finance chairman, is eligible to run his committee until after the 2010 elections.

The Grassley gavel trade is not the only way to block Specter, but it is the easiest and the cleanest. Such a sacrifice on Grassleyâ??s part would become unnecessary, of course, were Specter to lose reelection, either to conservative primary challenger Rep. Pat Toomey (R.-Pa.) or to Democratic Rep. Joe Hoeffel (Pa.) next November.

Also, the members of the Republican Conference could make one of two rule changes to prevent a Specter-led Judiciary Committee. First, they could waive the term limit for Hatch. Alternatively, they could circumvent rules and tradition and skip Specter for Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.), a pro-life conservative who is fourth in seniority.

A final option, more peaceful than either of the above, is that the leadership could talk Specter into taking the chairmanship of some other committee, perhaps by offering a spot on another coveted panel.

The case is strong that conservatives and pro-lifers (as the Senate Republican leaders claim to be) ought to be ready to take drastic measures to keep Specter from running the Judiciary Committee.

The single most important function of the Judiciary Committee is to vet federal court nominees, especially nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. Assuming President Bush wins a second term in 2004, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee need to defend Bushâ??s nominees against assaults from the likes of Senators Ted Kennedy (D.-Mass.), Pat Leahy (D.-Vt.) and Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.).

The Judiciary Chairman must be the champion of any Supreme Court nominee. so he must be enthusiastic about all presidential judicial nominations. Specter, however, subscribes to the pro-abortion judicial activism of the left.

In October 1999 and then again this Spring, during debate on a bill to ban partial-birth abortion, Specter voted in favor of an amendment holding that Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 seized the abortion issue from the states and elected legislatures, was correctly decided and ought not be overturned. The amendment passed both times.

Even pro-choice legal scholars maintain that the Roe decision -- based on "penumbras" and "emanations" rather than the text of the Constitution -- is a prime example of shoddy jurisprudence. Most noteworthy is pro-choice law professor John Hart Ely, who laid out the absurdities of Roe in his 1973 essay "The Wages of Crying Wolf: A comment on Roe v. Wade."

In 1987, Specter grilled Federal Appeals Court Judge Robert Bork, President Reaganâ??s conservative nominee to the Supreme Court. In his book Passion for Truth, Specter explained why he resisted Borkâ??s nomination, which was eventually voted down by the Senate. "The Constitution has turned out to be much more dynamic than [Bork believes]: a living, growing document, responsive to the needs of the nation," wrote Specter. "Borkâ??s narrow approach is dangerous for constitutional government."

Specter had approved of William Rehnquistâ??s promotion to chief justice and Antonin Scaliaâ??s nomination (though he notes in his book that both "yes" votes were cast grudgingly) and later would come to the rescue of Clarence Thomas. But blocking Bork, he explained in his book, was essential to preserving the balance of the court.

â??Gentleman from Scotlandâ??

Noting his fear that Reagan and Bush might get to fill three more vacancies (in fact they filled two more), Specter wrote: "A court dominated by Borkâ??s intellect with three similarly disposed new appointees plus Rehnquist and Scalia could adopt original intent and weaken or even reject judicial review. I concluded that the country couldnâ??t take that risk."

Specter voted yes on the nominations of liberals David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer as well as swing justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day Oâ??Connor. In his book, he notes no reservations or objections to those judges as he did with Rehnquist and Scalia.

The Judiciary Committee, in addition to vetting judicial nominees, has jurisdiction over many abortion-related bills. In this Congress, Specter has garnered a 50% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. In past Congresses, he has hovered between 0% and 25%. This year, Specter has voted in favor of the partial birth abortion ban, but supported funding for abortions on military bases and for International Planned Parenthood.

In many circles on Capitol Hill, Specter is known derisively as the "Gentleman from Scotland" for his bizarre attempt to escape judging President Bill Clintonâ??s high crimes and misdemeanors. At the end of the impeachment trial, Specter appealed to Scottish legal tradition, explaining that he found President Clinton neither guilty nor not guilty, but, "not proven." Specter then proceeded to vote not guilty on both counts.

The import of keeping Specter out of the chairmanship is not a matter of revenge, but a matter of ensuring that President Bush can feel comfortable nominating conservatives and constructionist judges -- and that those judges will be confirmed

Already in this Congress, Specter has shown resistance to such nominees. While casting the deciding vote to report the federal Appeals Court nomination of Alabama Atty. Gen. William Pryor out of the Judiciary Committee, Specter indicated he might join the Democrats in opposing the conservativeâ??s nomination on the Senate floor.

Similarly, Specter is stirring up resistance to the nomination of Leon Holmes, according to GOP Senate staffers close to the confirmation process.

Some White House advisors are already counseling the President to nominate White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to the high court once a vacancy occurs. Gonzales, they reason, will overcome the filibusters that face conservative nominees.

With Specter running the process on the Senate floor, the White House would have more reason to nominate such a moderate.

If the White House is to feel comfortable nominating a judge such as Pryor to the Supreme Court, the Senate Judiciary chairman will have to be conservative -- meaning not Arlen Specter. This will take an act of courage, either by Grassley, or the GOP Senate leadership.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; arlin; bush; chair; conservative; democrat; election; fight; judge; rove; specter
SPECTER must NO chair the Judiciary Commettee.
1 posted on 11/07/2004 8:38:54 PM PST by vannrox
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To: vannrox


This will take an act of courage


2 posted on 11/07/2004 8:40:32 PM PST by vannrox (The Preamble to the Bill of Rights - without it, our Bill of Rights is meaningless!)
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To: vannrox

No chair works for me...BUMP!!

3 posted on 11/07/2004 8:40:43 PM PST by international american (RKBA RULES!!)
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To: vannrox

The articles never stop, do they? EVERYONE realizes that Specter should NOT have the chairmanship.

Those Senators better hear us. Keep the pressure going tomorrow....waves and waves of pressure. Phone calls, faxes, emails, visits.

4 posted on 11/07/2004 8:46:56 PM PST by Cedar
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To: vannrox
Whenever a Republican commits a minor indiscretion that the Old Media jumps on, the Republican leadership has no problem forcing him to resign or step down from his leadership position, but now they expect us to believe that they are powerless to do anything about Specter because of the "rules."

Call your Republican Senators and Frist Monday morning and let them know you won't accept any excuses.

5 posted on 11/07/2004 8:55:06 PM PST by bayourod (Specter's litmus test : "No Christian Judges")
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To: vannrox

FLASHBACK: - Will Specter Chair Judiciary?

I say NO!!!!

Just in case the question was directed to me. (FlashBack) :)

6 posted on 11/07/2004 8:56:47 PM PST by FlashBack (Faith will not make our path easy, but it will give us strength for the Journey.)
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To: bayourod

You are right! Trent Lott makes one comment, and he loses his leadership in a flash...

We won't take any excuses....they must say NO to Specter.

7 posted on 11/07/2004 9:09:48 PM PST by Cedar
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To: vannrox

This is what you get for electing "any Republican" at "any cost." Bush and Santorum blew it for all conservatives when they decided to campaign for this RINO.

8 posted on 11/07/2004 10:10:33 PM PST by sefarkas (why vote Democrate-lite???)
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To: vannrox
Catechism of the Catholic Church and what it says about those who support abortion

What does this say about Senator Specter?

9 posted on 11/07/2004 10:15:55 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation



Contact Senator Frist

Contact Senator Santorum

Tell them in no uncertain terms that Specter cannot be made Senate Judiciary Chairman

Do NOT take "no" for an answer!

Bush has no Mandate?

Just say "NO" To Specter's Games!

Senate Judiciary Committee GOP Members

Contact Senator Orrin Hatch

Contact Senator Charles Grassley

Contact Senator Jon Kyl

Contact Senator Mike DeWine

Contact Senator Jeff Sessions

Contact Senator Lindsey Graham

Contact Senator Larry Craig

Contact Senator Saxby Chambliss

Contact Senator John Cornyn

10 posted on 11/07/2004 10:20:23 PM PST by GeneralHavoc (Stop Specter From Blocking Bush's Judges! Visit!)
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To: vannrox

...and then Bush should renominate Bork for the first opening.

11 posted on 11/07/2004 10:21:21 PM PST by holyscroller (Actions speak louder than bumperstickers)
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