Pro-Abortion Lawmakers Filibuster Pickering Nomination
by Steven Ertelt
October 31, 2003
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As expected, pro-abortion lawmakers filibustered the nomination of pro-life judge Charles Pickering to a spot on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has been waiting for more than two years for confirmation of the appointment.
Senate Democrats, by a 54 to 43 vote, prevented Pickering supporters from obtaining the necessary 60 votes to stop debate and approve the nomination.
The vote was cast on party lines, although Senators John Breaux (D-LA), Zell Miller (D-GA) and Jim Jeffords (I-VT) supported the cloture vote. Pro-life Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) was absent, and would he would have provided a 55th vote in favor of ending debate.
President Bush voiced his disapproval following the vote.
Pickering "is a good, fair-minded man, and the treatment he has received by a handful of senators is a disgrace,” Bush said in a statement. "He has wide bipartisan support from those who know him best.”
Pickering said he is unfazed by the vote, but is disappointed how Senate Democrats have destroyed the judicial nomination process with repeated filibusters.
"What has happened to me personally is of no great importance,” he told the Associated Press. "But what is happening to the confirmation process is tremendously important. That should be a matter of great concern for all Americans.”
As a state Senator, Pickering wrote a constitutional amendment to ban abortion that was adopted by the Mississippi Republican Party. Also, Pickering chaired the subcommittee of the National Republican Party that in 1976 approved a plank calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make abortion illegal.
Those pro-life views prompted abortion advocacy groups to oppose his nomination and they encouraged pro-abortion senators to filibuster.
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. McCorvey’s case would have a better chance were he confirmed.
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.