Senators Who Oppose Bush Judges On Abortion Will Lead Senate Democrats

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senators Who Oppose Bush Judges On Abortion Will Lead Senate Democrats Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Two senators who actively filibustered ten of President Bush’s pro-life judicial nominees during his first term have become the new leaders of the Senate Democrats. One has a mixed voting record on abortion while the other is pro-abortion — but both have voted for measures that would have gutted pro-life legislation.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats chose Nevada Senator Harry Reid to replace pro-abortion Sen. Tom Daschle as their new Minority Leader. They also selected pro-abortion Illinois Senator Dick Durbin to move into Reid’s vacated number two slot.

Reid has a mixed voting record on abortion issues, compiling a 55 percent pro-life voting record during the last session of Congress.

However, in addition to voting for every filibuster of Bush’s judges, the Nevadan has often attempted to gut pro-life legislation by voting for competing measures that would render the bills useless.

Reid also met earlier this month with representatives of NARAL and Kate Michelman, the group’s former president, to shore up his standing with the key pro-abortion group.

"Although casting some pro-life votes, Senator Reid is no ally of the pro-life movement," Douglas Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, told

Meanwhile, Durbin, who was unopposed in his bid for the Minority Whip post, has compiled a 0% pro-life voting record almost every year he has been in Congress.

The primary job Reid and Durbin have will be blocking pro-life judicial nominees with filibusters — a task they excelled at during Bush’s first four years.

Reid takes over a party that lost seats during the presidential election and now has just 44 members and the support of one independent.

However, they have more than enough to prevent Senate Republicans from closing off debate and having an up or down vote on any nominee. That’s despite losing pro-life Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, a Democrat who has consistently supported Bush’s judicial picks.

The two new Democratic leaders will have outside pressure from pro-abortion groups to continue stalling on nominees they oppose because of their abortion stance.

Ralph Neas, head of the pro-abortion People for the American Way, told the Associated Press he hoped Reid and Durbin "would continue that strategy" of filibusters.

But pro-life groups say that Senate Democrats could lose again at the polls in 2006 if they follow Neas’ advice.

"If Senate Democrats continue to obstruct well-qualified judicial nominees like Janice Rogers Brown, and to obstruct pro-life bills supported by 70 percent or more of the public, Senator Reid probably will find himself the leader of an ever-diminishing minority," NRLC’s Johnson told