Pro-Life Congressmen Want Justice Ginsburg Out of Abortion Cases

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Congressmen Want Justice Ginsburg Out of Abortion Cases

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 19, 2004

Washington, DC ( — More than a dozen pro-life members of Congress on Thursday crafted a letter to pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg asking her to recuse herself from future abortion cases because of her relationship with the National Organization of Women, an abortion advocacy group.

The pro-life lawmakers are concerned because Ginsburg has lent her name to the NOW Legal Defense Fund, which often filed briefs in Supreme Court cases — including those related to abortion. The pro-abortion group is co-sponsoring the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Distinguished Lecture Series.

"As legislators, we believe your actions call into question your ability to rule with impartiality on any case involving abortion," the lawmakers wrote in a copy of the letter provided to

"It is well known that NOW Legal Defense engages in active lobbying on behalf of pro-abortion activists and regularly submits briefs to the Supreme Court in a variety of cases," they added. "As a matter of fact, an entire section of the NOW Legal Defense website is dedicate to cases that are heard before the High Court."

Ginsburg has drawn criticism for voting in a medical screening case in favor of NOW’s position and speaking at a NOW-sponsored lecture just two weeks later. The New York Times on Monday called her relationship with NOW "unwise" and asked her to cut her ties with the group.

The code of conduct for federal judges asks them to steer clear of involvements that would "cast reasonable doubt on the capacity to decide impartially any issue that may come before them."

Last week, Ginsburg defended her relationship with the abortion advocacy group. She said it would be difficult to recuse herself, especially in cases where the decision could result in a tie.

In fact, were Ginsburg to decline to participate in the expected Supreme Court case concerning the federal ban on partial-birth abortions, the court could find itself with a 4-4 tie on the question of whether it is unconstitutional because it lacks a health exception.

NOW’s Kathy Rodgers also defends her group’s relationship with the Supreme Court justice arguing, "I’ve never heard her address cases that are in front of the court."

Reps. Joe Pitts (Pennsylvania), Dave Weldon (Florida), Walter Jones (North Carolina), Sue Myrick (N.C.), Kevin Brady (Texas), Barbara Cubin (Wyoming), Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), Todd Akin (Missouri), Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee), Mike Pence (Indiana), Roscoe Bartlett (Maryland), Steve King (Iowa) and Chris Smith (New Jersey) signed the letter.