Pickering Nomination Approved by Committee, Moves to Full Senate
by Steven Ertelt
October 2, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The easy part is over. Now comes the real challenge for the nomination of pro-life judge Charles Pickering to a federal appeals court — overcoming an expected filibuster.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved President Bush’s nomination of Pickering to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a 10-9 party-line vote.
The 5th Circuit court is currently weighing an appeal of a lawsuit filed by Norma McCorvey to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Pickering opposes abortion and wrote a constitutional amendment in the 1980s establishing the right to life that he urged a state Republican Party to adopt. McCorvey’s case would have a better chance were he confirmed.
The move sets the stage for another fight in the full Senate, and Democratic lawmakers are expected to wage yet another filibuster to block Pickering’s nomination because of his pro-life views.
Pickering has picked up the support of one senator who has voted for filibusters in the past. Pro-abortion Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) says he will vote in favor of Pickering’s nomination and won’t participate in a filibuster.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Pickering, a district court judge in Mississippi, is the victim of criticism "driven largely by Washington special interest groups who do not know Judge Pickering and have a political ax to grind."
Pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), a leading Pickering critic, said, "It’s hard to believe the president would rather pick this fight than pick a decent judge."
The 5th Circuit appeals court reviews cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, including pro-abortion challenges to pro-life legislation passed in state legislatures.
The court recently heard a case by a Louisiana woman who was denied an abortion while she was in prison. State officials say to transport her to an abortion facility would use state tax dollars in violation of a pro-life law prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion.
Last year, when Democrats controlled the Senate, the panel rejected Pickering’s nomination by a similarly partisan vote.
ACTION: Contact your Senators and encourage them to oppose a filibuster of the Pickering nomination. You can reach any senator at 202-244-3121 or find specific contact information at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm