by Steven Ertelt
November 19, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Despite intense lobbying efforts by pro-life groups, pro-abortion Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter appears to have the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee sewn up thanks to support from Republicans on the panel.
Pro-life advocates are reacting cautiously and are guardedly optimistic that Specter will keep his promises to move the president’s judicial nominees along at a rapid pace with quick hearings and votes.
Tom Minnery, vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family Action, said he was hopeful that Specter "will respond in the fashion that he apparently has promised, so that the president’s judicial nominations and other important legislation can go through quickly and cleanly."
Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition, told the Washington Post that pro-life judicial nominees should be able to get through the committee, even with Specter at the helm.
Despite the assurances from Specter in a statement he released Thursday, others were concerned about the result of the Specter debate.
"It seems that the Senate is protecting the rules of the club more than what won the election," Jayd Henricks, director of congressional relations for the Family Research Council, told the Washington Times. "Here we have somebody being put in maybe the most important committee position, who has a history of opposing the very values that won the election."
"People are going to watch how he conducts that committee," Henricks said. "We feel like a message was sent, and we are hopeful the message was heard."
Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America said she is concerned that Specter’s statement promising quick action on nominees is nothing new than what he said during the weeks after his controversial comments.
"Specter read from a prepared statement, but said nothing new or different from what he has said since Nov. 3, as he’s scrambled to ‘clarify’ the statement that got him in all the trouble," LaRue said.
Pro-life South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham assured worried pro-life advocates that the Senate Judiciary Committee would strongly support Bush’s pro-life judicial picks.
"Time will come when the president sends over a nominee, maybe for the Supreme Court, and our committee will support our president, and we will do everything we can to make sure that nominee is fairly treated," Graham said.
Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family founder and president, said pro-life advocates would be watching Specter and holding him accountable.
"The senator will have ample opportunity in his new position to follow through on his pledged support for the values of the Bush administration, the Senate leadership and the majority of this nation’s voters," Dobson said. "As the outcry of the past two weeks demonstrates, neither the Republican Party nor the American people will tolerate obstructionist politics when it comes to the confirmation of judicial nominees."