Senate Debates Pro-Life Judicial Nominees, Bush Demands Vote

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 13, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Debates Pro-Life Judicial Nominees, Bush Demands Vote

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 13, 2003

Washington, DC ( — The Senate began a 30-hour marathon debate on President Bush’s pro-life nominees for several appeals court positions on Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, members of the Senate were greeted with a stern message from Bush demanding an up or down vote.

In the Oval Office standing alongside three women he has nominated for appeals court positions, Bush told reporters "These people deserve an up or down vote on the Senate floor."

With Texas judge Priscilla Owen and California judges Carolyn Kuhl and Janice Rogers Brown at his side, Bush said "a few senators are playing politics and it’s wrong and it’s shameful. I will stand with them till the bitter end because they’re the absolute right pick for their respective positions."

Senators debated throughout the night, but sometimes strayed off topic from the matter of judicial nominations.

"Until now, every judicial nominee throughout the history of the Senate and of the United States of America, who has received the support of a majority of senators, has been confirm," said pro-life Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

"Until now, no judicial nominee who has enjoyed the support of a majority of senators has ever been denied an up-or-down vote. Indeed, until now, Democrat and Republican senators alike have long condemned even the idea of defeating judicial nominees by filibuster," Cornyn added.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) claimed the opposition to Bush’s appointments is not based on their pro-life views.

"I bet you out of the 168 nominees that we’ve confirmed, I wouldn’t be surprised if all 168 were pro-life…so if we’ve already confirmed that many pro-life nominees, it would be hard to argue that for some reason, in these four cases, that was an issue. Obviously, it isn’t," Daschle said.

However, both pro-abortion groups and pro-abortion lawmakers have cited their so-called "extreme" pro-life views as a reason not to confirm the nominees.

Pro-life groups also say that pro-abortion senators are holding appeals court nominees to a different standard because they are one step away from a Supreme Court appointment.

Senate Republicans called the long debate "Justice for Judges," and they hope it will produce more votes for Bush’s nominees. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has scheduled votes for Owen, Kuhl and Brown on Friday.

ACTION: Please contact your senators and urge stgrong support for Bush’s judicial nominees. You can rech any senator at 202-224-3121 or find specific contact information at