by Steven Ertelt
November 5, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Though he says his remarks were taken out of context in news reports, comments by Arlen Specter that make it appear he doesn’t want President Bush to nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court have drawn considerable concern from pro-life groups.
At a news conference Tuesday, Specter was asked what he would do as the likely next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee if Bush sent pro-life judicial nominations to the Senate for confirmation.
"When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v Wade, I think that is unlikely," Specter said.
"Senator Specter needs to realize that the victories the Republican Party had on election night were due to the Value Voters. A clear mandate has been sent to Washington — appoint strict constructionists who will interpret law, not make it," said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
Like representatives of other pro-life groups, Perkins says Specter should not be allowed to become the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Concerned Women for America ‘s Jan LaRue says Specter "disqualified" himself from serving as chairman of the committee.
"Sen. Specter has repeatedly made it clear that he will block appointments of federal judges who do not pass his pro-abortion litmus test," said LaRue. "Specter has signaled in advance that he does not intend to conduct the Judiciary Committee in a fair and impartial manner. Therefore, he has disqualified himself from consideration for that position."
LaRue’s group wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asking them to prevent Specter from obtaining the chairmanship.
Normally, senators ascend to a chairmanship of a committee by virtue of their seniority. However, the 55 member Republican caucus could vote to strip him of the title and appoint someone else to lead the committee.
Such moves are rarely executed and often fail because most senators do not favor toppling the seniority system.
However, pro-life organizations are meeting with pro-life lawmakers on Capitol Hill in advance of the Senate leadership votes to determine what, if anything, should be done about Specter in light of his comments.