by Steven Ertelt
November 10, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush is expected to select White House chief counsel Alberto Gonzales, a longtime friend, as the next Attorney General. Gonzales would replace John Ashcroft, who drew praise from pro-life advocates for fighting against assisted suicide and defending the ban on partial-birth abortions.
The former selection of Gonzales could come as early as today.
"I would not rule out an announcement today," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a press conference.
Gonzales served as general counsel for Bush while he was governor and later as his secretary of state. He was eventually appointed to the state’s Supreme Court.
The Hispanic attorney has drawn some concerns from pro-life groups who wonder how he’ll handle sensitive pro-life issues.
As a member of the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales voted to allow a teenager to use the judicial bypass of the state’s parental notification law to obtain an abortion. However, some say he was merely following the law, which allows teens in abuse situations to avoid telling their parents, and not advocating abortion.
Ramesh Ponnuru, the pro-life senior editor of National Review, examined the parental notification case.
"My conclusion was that while the dissenters had the better argument about how to construe the statute, the cases do not prove Gonzales to be a lawless judge, a supporter of Roe v. Wade, or even a proponent of a right to abortion," Ponnuru said.
Because of the worry about his position on abortion, there could be a side benefit of selecting Gonzales for the Attorney General spot. It likely takes him out of the running for a Supreme Court position in the next couple of years — and pro-life groups are hoping for additional pro-life votes on the nation’s high court.
Under Gonzales, the Justice Department would also be expected to follow the Bush administration’s pro-life position on abortion and assisted suicide.
One sign that Gonzales won’t be a concern is his move early on in the Bush administration to dispense with the practice of having the American Bar Association, which typically has a pro-abortion slant, officially weigh in on any nominees to federal courts.
Bush received significant support from the pro-life community for his numerous pro-life picks to federal courts, including top appeals courts and Gonzales apparently did not counsel the president against them.
Initial reaction from abortion advocates indicated they were curious about Gonzales’ views.
"Particular attention should be devoted to exploring Mr. Gonzales’ proposed policies on … reproductive rights," an ACLU representative told the Associated Press.