Skip to comments.President Bush's Potential Supreme Court Picks are Pro-Life on Abortion
Posted on 11/25/2004 10:01:13 AM PST by nickcarraway
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- With the potential to nominate as many as three or four Supreme Court justices, there is little doubt that one legacy President Bush will have is how he shaped the views of the nation's top judicial panel.
When Bush begins nominating new justices to replace the aging members of the court, one of the key battles will revolve around abortion.
A recentCBS-New York Times poll found that 64 percent of those polled said they thought Bush would appoint pro-life judges who favor making abortion illegal.
They may be right.
A survey of the most often discussed possibilities for Supreme Court appointments indicates many are either pro-life or have issued decisions on legislation favorable to the pro-life community.
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
As a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Alito upheld a Pennsylvania pro-life law that the Supreme Court overturned in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He wrote an opinion in that case arguing for a standard that would permit virtually any restriction on abortion. From New Jersey, Alito is known in legal circles as "Scalia lite" in reference to pro-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Janice Rogers Brown
Judge Janice Rogers Brown is the first black woman to serve on California's Supreme Court. Her nomination to a federal appeals court has been blocked by Senate Democrats.
In 1997, she issued a well-researched dissent in a case where the California Supreme Court overturned a pro-life law requiring abortion facilities to obtain parental consent before performing an abortion on a teenage girl.
Brown accused the court's plurality of abrogating the constitutional rights of parents, described the court's thinking as circular, and called the case "an excellent example of the folly of courts in the role of philosopher kings."
"When fundamentally moral and philosophical issues are involved and the questions are fairly debatable," Brown wrote, "the judgment call belongs to the Legislature. They represent the will of the people."
he also dissented in a decision requiring Catholic Charities to pay for contraception coverage in employee health insurance plans. The decision concerns pro-life groups because it could lead to a requirement that abortion be covered as well.
Brown has also garnered the support of the California voters. In 1998, 76% of voters decided to keep Brown on the bench in their state, the highest percentage of supporting votes in that election.
Emilio Garza is a federal appeals court judge on the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Garza's opposition to abortion is beyond question. He wrote two separate opinions explicitly criticizing Roe v. Wade and suggesting it be overturned.
Judge Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is frequently mentioned as a contender for the high court. She was considered for the Supreme Court seat that eventually went to Clarence Thomas.
If pro-life advocates are looking for a justice who strongly opposes Roe v. Wade, Jones should be a favorite.
When the 5th Circuit denied a request in October by Norma McCorvey to approve her motion to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling, Judge Jones issued an opinion blasting the Supreme Court's opinion in Roe and saying it needs to be re-examined.
She called Roe an "exercise of raw judicial power," and cited evidence McCorvey presented showing abortions hurt women.
Jones, a Reagan nominee, wrote that the "[Supreme] Court's rulings have rendered basic abortion policy beyond the power of our legislative bodies."
"The perverse result of the Court's having determined through constitutional adjudication this fundamental social policy, which affects over a million women and unborn babies each year, is that the facts no longer matter," Jones added.
Jones chided the nation's high court for being "so committed to 'life' that it struggles with the particular facts of dozens of death penalty cases each year," but failing to grasp the fact that abortions destroys the lives of unborn children.
"One may fervently hope that the court will someday acknowledge such developments and re-evaluate Roe and Casey accordingly," Jones said of the 5000 pages of evidence with affidavits from over 1000 woman who have been harmed by abortion.
Judge Michael Luttig is a member of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Luttig was a clerk for pro-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when Scalia was an appeals-court judge.
Later, Luttig worked for the first Bush administration and helped the former president win the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the nation's high court.
Luttig is widely considered one of Bush's top judicial prospects, especially given his young age, 50, and his ability to shape the direction of the court for years to come. He is considered the most conservative judge on one of the most conservative appeals courts in the nation.
He is regarded as a threat by abortion advocacy groups because he opposes abortion.
In 1998, Luttig issued an emergency stay of a lower-court order that blocked a new Virginia law banning partial-birth abortions. Eventually, Luttig and the 4th Circuit allowed the pro-life law to remain in place, but were overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court and the state's law was struck down.
However, should Luttig be selected for the Supreme Court, he would side with the four judges who comprised the minority in a 2000 case striking a Nebraska partial-birth abortion ban. The legal battle over the federal ban on partial-birth abortions is headed to federal appeals courts and will likely reach the Supreme Court.
Judge John Roberts, a former clerk of pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist, recently won confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, a traditional steppingstone to the Supreme Court. He is a former legal counsel to President Reagan.
As Principal Deputy Solicitor General during the first Bush administration, Roberts played an active role in efforts to limit abortion. Roberts argued in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court that [w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. [T]he Court's conclusion in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion ... finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."
In Rust v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court considered whether the Department of Health and Human Services could counsel women to have abortions. Roberts said regulations prohibiting that were constitutional.
Larry Thompson was deputy attorney general and the Bush administration's highest-ranking black law-enforcement official until he quit in 2003 to join a think tank, the Brookings Institution. A longtime friend of Justice Clarence Thomas, Thompson now serves as the general counsel for PepsiCo.
Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, also a member of the Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court, is considered a top prospect for the first Supreme Court seat that opens up.
Wilkinson opposes abortion and is considered someone who may be palatable to Democrats in the Senate because of his more moderate views on other political issues, such as environmental policy.
He voted to uphold a state law allowing parents to know when their teenage daughters were considering an abortion.
Pro-life judges are no more desirable to me than pro-abort judges. I want pro-Constitution, pro-republic judges. Deferring authority to the Legislature is not equivelant to being pro-life. It means that the question properly resides outside the jurisdiction of the courts. Similarly, one can be anti-Roe without being pro-life, in theory anyway. I want Scalias, meaning objective referees, not idealogues of any stripe.
Pro-Constitution judges ARE pro-life.
If President Bush puts up a pro-abort judge for the SCOTUS where will be civil war in the GOP, you can count on that!
Here's the deal. If you are willing to ACCEPT pro-life judges, then you will get your conservative, constitutional judges. If you are not, you won't.
It can be argued, of course, that the right to life is constitutional, that it is the most basic of the inalienable rights, which the Founding Fathers declared to be "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If your life isn't safe from arbitrary seizure, then what good are liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
In any case, the practical point is that those who don't care about the abortion issue, or even those who are somewhat pro-abortion, can afford to compromise. Those who are pro-life will not compromise. They haven't for 30 years since Roe v. Wade, and they never will. So why not welcome them as allies of the conservative cause?
It is my understanding that Laura I. clerked for Clarence Thomas.
This is constitutional. This is how the system is suppose to work. That is the big problem with Pro-Abortion judges. They want to circumvent the legislated process and they do it with more then just abortion.
Not necessarily. I think Scalia would toss it back to the states, which is not a pro-life position, it's a pro-Constitution position.
Unless you think abortion violates a constitutional right to life. Not sure that one's ever been argued. Live by the penumbra, die by the penumbra I guess.
One can argue, as you point out, that a constitutional right to life makes abortion unconstitutional. That is not the view, so far as I know, of Scalia, and yet Scalia is acceptable to me.
Therefore, for me, a strict construction of federal authority is more important to me than is the assertion of a constitutional protection of prenatal life. I think that is an important difference.
Doesn't mean I can't play in the sandbox with pro lifers. Just means the issue to me is judicial activism, not abortion.
Those top six sound like mighty fine choices. I have been very critical of the President for going left, but if he nominates any of those six and fights for them I will be glad to eat my words.
Nick: Thanks for all the valuable insight on this subject. Did it ever enter your mind that most average people already know all this stuff? They do.Sharing all this easy to obtain info as if it's the greatest stuff since sliced bread makes even dull folks wonder about you.
Get a hobby that keeps you out of the public eye...OK?
Who said there won't be a litmus test? Bush himself said he would use a litmus test, in that he will nominate someone who interprets the constitution, not imposes personal opinion. That is a constitutional litmus test, and it makes sense. You have to have some standards for nominating these people.
Think of it as access to a "Colgate invincible, tungsten cowhide, turbo encabulated spade shovel" digging us out of a hole, slowly but surely.
Actually, there is an explicit litmus test. The president has said over and over that he is comitted to appointing only strict constructionlists. These judges are, almost by definition, anti-roe.
Overturning row does not negate abortion on demand btw. It defers the question to the states and legislatures, as it should be.
The opposite is true of liberals, who believe that the constitution is a living document and that unelected judges tell the people that there must be abortion on demand, and that marriage is defined by the judges' political ideology; that basically, the citizens just need to suck it up and live with it.
Liberals (and many of their ideas) cannot win through the balot box, so they use judges to impose their agenda on voters. It is no more complicated than that. I would think that jack and jill six pack are tired of someone like chuckie schummer telling them that a strict constructionlist judge is out of the mainstream. Actually, chuckie and his party are out of the mainstream. The ballot boxs of 2002 and 2004 proved it.
Bump for reading when the time comes....lol
Gee, what a long lost concept! : (
btw, you spelled 'litmus' wrong. (Go back to your talking points memo and check that out, K??).
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