Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has assembled a team of pro-life, conservative legal heavyweights to advise him on legal matters — specifically on the right kind of judges he should consider should he become president.
The pro-life bonafides of the legal team are so significant that Romney, who shifted to the pro-life position, could find himself winning over some skeptics who worry about the kind of judges he would appoint if elected.
The co-chairman of the new Romney Justice Advisory Committee is former Appeals Court justice Robert Bork, a prior Supreme Court nominee who is highly-regarded by pro-life and conservative voters for his legal acumen, his steadfastly pro-life, conservative views and because of the way liberals treated him during his failed bid to become a Supreme Court justice. Bork, had he been confirmed, would be one of the justices on the high court ready to consider a case to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that ushered in an era of virtually unlimited abortions.
The second member of the Romney judicial team is Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, a pro-life heroine who is a former ambassador to the Vatican and well-respected by the Catholic community.
Glendon recently defended Romney’s pro-life views in an interview with the National Catholic Register.
“After participating in a searching no-holds-barred conversation among Mitt, his wife, Anne, and a group of pro-life activists in March 2007,” Glendon said, “I was completely convinced of his sincerity on the life issues. The pro-life movement has staked so much on the confidence that people’s minds can be changed that it would be strange to accuse a person of ‘flip-flopping’ when, as in Mitt’s case, his mind and heart have brought him to respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.”
The Romney judicial team, according to a Boston Herald report, has 63 members who have signed a pledge to ensure that they will help Romney nominate federal judges “who faithfully adhere to the Constitution’s text, structure, and history and he will carry out the duties of president as a zealous defender of the Constitution.” Although presidential candidates can’t promise to nominate pro-life judges on the basis of the abortion issue alone, the language is the kind of language conservative presidential candidates have used to assure pro-life voters that the kind of judges selected will be ones who will not legislate from the bench as the Supreme Court did in Roe.
The judicial advisory team is not new — as Romney assembled a team in 2008 when he ran for the nomination the first time — but the members of the team are higher profile and include some of the top legal names from the Bush administration like Steven Bradbury, Michael Chertoff, Jay Stephens and H. Christopher Bartolomucci.
This election’s team also will please pro-life advocates because it leaves out Pepperdine University law professor Douglas Kmiec, who was on the panel last time but defected from the Republican side to support pro-abortion candidate Barack Obama despite his massive pro-abortion record and views supporting unlimited abortion. Catholics have been particularly upset with Kmiec, who became the ambassador to the pro-life nation of Malta but lost his position because he continued to defend Obama’s pro-abortion position.
With Romney needing to shore up support with pro-lie voters to have any chance of becoming the Republican nominee and not seeing a replay of his 2008 election bid, the legal team will help him begin the process of reassuring conservatives he understands their concerns when it comes to abortion.