Senate Picks Up Pro-Life Votes, Helps President Bush Tackle Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Picks Up Pro-Life Votes, Helps President Bush Tackle Supreme Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 3, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Voters gave President Bush a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections, but they also sent a handful of new pro-life lawmakers to the U.S. Senate. As a result, they helped shore up the votes the president will need to confirm new judges to federal courts — including the ever-important Supreme Court.

Senate seats changed hands from pro-abortion members to pro-life senators in Florida, with a close victory by Mel Martinez and North Carolina, thanks to a win by Richard Burr

In South Carolina, pro-life Congressman Jim DeMint beat Inez Tenenbaum, who benefitted from hundreds of thousands of dollars from Emily’s List, a leading abortion advocacy group. DeMint’s victory also places a pro-abortion seat in the pro-life column.

And, in perhaps the most noted victory of all of the Senate contests, pro-life former Congressman John Thune toppled pro-abortion Majority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota. Thune, who had a 100% pro-life voting record when in Congress, replaces a leading pro-abortion senator who frequently blocked pro-life legislation.

In Louisiana, pro-life Republican David Vitter replaces Democrat John Breaux, who mostly voted pro-life and normally supported the president on judicial picks.

Those new pro-life senators will give the president a stronger margin in the Senate and will help him on issues such as abortion, banning all forms of human cloning, and preventing taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research.

They will also help him when it comes time to make nominations to the Supreme Court.

With the hospitalization of Chief Justice William Rehnquist shortly before the election and three other judges battling advancing age and health problems, President Bush will make at least one appointment, if not more, in the next four years. Those nominations have the potential to change the fate of abortion for decades, something not lost on leading pro-life groups.

"Nothing will be more important to President Bush’s legacy than the possible imprint he could leave on the United States Supreme Court," says Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

"President Bush has promised to nominate judges to the Supreme Court who will actually follow the rule of law instead of legislating from the bench," Perkins added.

However, pro-life advocates did suffer a couple of defeats on Tuesday.

In Colorado, pro-life candidate Peter Coors failed to claim an open Senate seat vacated by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Although Campbell backed abortion, he frequently supported pro-life legislation and consistently voted for Bush’s judicial picks. Colorado voters, instead, gave their support to pro-abortion candidate Ken Salazar.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, outgoing pro-life Senator Peter Fitzgerald was replaced by pro-abortion Democratic candidate Barak Omaba, who defeated pro-life stalwart Alan Keyes by a healthy margin.

Overall, with the addition of two new pro-life members of the Senate, pro-life groups are closer to achieving a 60 vote cloture-proof majority needed to stop a filibuster on Bush’s judicial selections.