Arlen Specter Does Media Blitz to Defend Abortion-Judges Comments

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

Arlen Specter Does Media Blitz to Defend Abortion-Judges Comments Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 9, 2004

Washington, DC ( — On Monday, Arlen Specter engaged in a furious media blitz to combat growing concerns from pro-life groups that he should not be the next chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are upset because of comments Specter made last week indicating that nominees who oppose abortion would not be confirmed on his watch.

The pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican has been backpedalling from those comments, initially made in a press conference last Wednesday. He continued on Monday to say that he would vote to confirm pro-life judges, as he has in the past when he voted for nominees such as Clarence Thomas and William Rehnquist.

"I have not applied a litmus test, and have voted to confirm pro-life judges," he said in a television interview. Specter said he would "absolutely not" stand in the way of confirming judges who would vote to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.

Asked by CNN whether he thinks his efforts over the last several days to retreat from his comments have helped, Specter said he is "leaving no stone unturned."

"I’ve been training for this job for a long time. I think I can help the president, and I think I can help the country," he added.

Specter said he thought it would be difficult to overturn Roe "because it is a longstanding rule and very distant line" but he said he would "live with" the Supreme Court’s decision if it ever reversed the landmark decision.

"I believe in the rule of law, Judy. And if the Supreme Court makes a decision, I will abide by what the Supreme Court does," Specter said.

Specter is in line to replace Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who has been a strong ally of the pro-life community on abortion.

"Senator Specter is a big-time problem for us," said Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family in an appearance on ABC’s "This Week" newsmagazine program, “and he must be derailed.” He said Specter made "one of the most foolish and ill-considered comments that a politician has made in a long time."

"There are many, many members of that committee that are more qualified and less of a problem than Senator Specter" Dobson added.

Pro-life groups want someone else, such as pro-life Senators John Kyl of Arizona, Charles Grassley of Iowa or Mike DeWine of Ohio to head up the crucial committee instead.

Another pro-abortion Republican in the Senate, Susan Collins of Maine, said she didn’t believe efforts to deny Specter the chairmanship would prevail.

"Sen. Specter’s seniority puts him next in line. I think any effort to deny him his chairmanship will fizzle," she told USA Today.

The question of who retains the gavel as the Judiciary Committee chairman is crucial as President Bush is expected to name as many as three or four new judges to the Supreme Court.

Related web sites:
Specter interview with CNN –