Discovery of Internal Memos Details Opposition to Pro-Life Judges

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Discovery of Internal Memos Details Opposition to Pro-Life Judges

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 25, 2003

Washington, DC ( — The recent discovery of internal memorandums from pro-abortion and other political groups to members of the Senate details opposition to President Bush’s pro-life appellate court nominees. The memos urge the senators to engage in filibusters to block specific judicial nominees.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which uncovered the memos, pro-abortion Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) was to meet with members of several pro-abortion groups.

"The primary focus will be on identifying the most controversial and/or vulnerable judicial nominees. The groups would like to postpone action on these nominees until next year, when (presumably) the public will be more tolerant of partisan dissent," it reads.

The memo asks senators to oppose former Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada because "he has a minimal paper trail [meaning that nothing has been unearthed that can be used to question his character], he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment."

Estrada pulled his name from consideration after the Senate failed repeatedly to stop the filibuster and give him an up or down vote.

Meanwhile, according to the Washington Dispatch, Allison Herwitt, director of governmental relations for NARAL, wrote an email to an undisclosed group of senators on April 2, 2003 offering incentives in return for halting the confirmation of Judge Priscilla Owen.

Owen drew the ire of pro-abortion groups because she, as a member of the Texas Supreme Court, agreed with a majority of justices who upheld the state’s parental notification law and denied abortions to several teenagers who sought a judicial bypass.

"NARAL…strongly opposes this nomination and will score this vote in the 2003 Congressional Record on Choice," Herwitt wrote.

While the opposition to Bush’s judicial selections doesn’t come as a shock, offering incentives, possibly financial, to senators to vote a certain way strikes many as bribery.

The memos obtained by the Wall St. Journal were written when Democrats ran the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2001-02.