by Steven Ertelt
November 12, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The appointment of White House chief counsel Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General may have been done to set up a pro-life nomination to the Supreme Court, key Bush aides told the New York Times on Thursday.
White House sources told the newspaper that Gonzales was widely viewed as one of the top prospects for a Supreme Court appointment.
However, concerns from pro-life groups that Gonzales may not be pro-life could have prompted the president to name him as the next attorney general to give him a chance to establish pro-life credentials.
That decision, the aides told the New York Times, allows President Bush to make his first Supreme Court nomination a pro-life advocate who would be more likely to support overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed unlimited abortions.
"It’s a thank you to the right for the election," a top Republican official told the Times.
"And they think they need to strike now in the post-election glow," the official added, referring to apparent White House thinking that it would be easier to confirm a strong pro-life now following Bush’s clear election victory.
"So you do the toughest nominee first," the official added.
Another line of thought, according to associates of Gonzales who spoke with the Times, is that President Bush selected his good friend for the Attorney General spot knowing that pro-life groups might object to Gonzales appearing on the Supreme Court.
As Attorney General, Gonzales is given a top administration position without worrying pro-life advocates that he would set policy on abortion through court decisions.
According to the Times’ report, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a member of the Richmond, Virginia-based federal appeals court, is the top prospect for the first Supreme Court seat that opens up.
Wilkinson opposes abortion and is considered someone who may be palatable to Democrats in the Senate because of his more moderate views on other political issues, such as environmental policy.
Judge Michael Luttig, who sits on the same federal appeals court, is another possible Supreme Court appointees.
Other possible nominees include Judge Edith Jones, a federal appeals court judge, and Larry Thompson, a former deputy attorney general who is now the general counsel of PepsiCo.