Pro-Abortion Senator Says Clarence Thomas Would Have Nomination Battle

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 15, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Abortion Senator Says Clarence Thomas Would Have Nomination Battle Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 15, 2004

Washington, DC ( — In a political threat to possibly derail an appointment of pro-life Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to the Chief Justice position, leading pro-abortion Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said such a nomination would likely be filibustered.

Schumer, in an interview on ABC News’ "This Week," said Thomas was "one of the few who has wanted to roll, roll back the clock."

A leading advocate of using filibusters that were used to forestall ten of President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees to federal appeals courts positions last year, Schumer claimed he would vote for pro-life judges as long as they had "mainstream" views on other political issues.

"Judges on the far right or on the far left shouldn’t be put on the court because they feel so passionately that they want to make law," Schumer told George Stephanopoulos.

The Schumer warning comes at a time when Senate Republicans are preparing to meet to determine what strategy they will use to stop expected filibusters on Bush’s judicial appointments.

Though Republicans control 55 seats in the Senate and frequently receive support on judicial votes from pro-life Nebraska Democrat Senator Ben Nelson, they are still a handful of votes shy of the 60 necessary to stop debate and allow a vote on any nominee.

In interviews over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he had several options about how to deal with the problem, including the "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to prevent filibusters from being used to stop judicial appointments.

However, in the ABC News interview, Schumer said that would anger abortion advocates and lead to severe tensions between Senate Republicans and Democrats.

Sean Rushton, of the Committee for Justice, a group that supports Bush’s nominees, said senators should avoid filibustering a possible Thomas nomination to the chief justice position.

Rushton told the New York Sun that the potential Thomas nomination as chief justice of the United States has been discussed by Republicans "for some time," and Thomas would be a "good pick."