by Steven Ertelt
December 13, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocates appear to be confident that pro-life Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist will announce his retirement from the nation’s high court — and within a matter of days.
As a result, they are gearing up for an intense nominations battle as President Bush considers replacing him by elevating either pro-life Justice Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia to the top post.
In a press statement released Sunday, NARAL says its new president, former Montana elected official Nancy Keenan, "is ready to offer instant analysis and response" to news of "speculation rampant of a Supreme Court retirement announcement Monday."
"The coming battle over new Supreme Court nominations will fall heavily on the issue of a woman’s right to choose, and Ms. Keenan can offer incisive, sharp commentary on how that fight will emerge," the pro-abortion group said.
Rehnquist is battling thyroid cancer and has been working from home. He has not been in court since the Supreme Court began its new session. If he misses the court’s birthday bash, something he makes a huge fuss over annually, some say that’s a sign he’s ready to call it quits.
Last week, however, the White House issued a statement indicating that Rehnquist will perform the swearing in for President Bush in January as he takes the oath of office to begin his second term.
But, that didn’t stop the National Organization for Women, another abortion advocacy group, from issuing a similarly worded press announcement on Friday.
"[I]n response to recent rumors about the resignation of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the National Organization for Women is firmly committed to opposing any nominee who is anti-women and anti-abortion," the group indicated.
NOW said it is worried that Bush will move either Thomas or Scalia up to the chief justice spot and claimed it would launch an intense lobbying campaign to prevent that.
Calling them "arch-conservatives," NOW said their "radical ideologies make them disastrous for the advancement of women."
Some court observers say the biggest fights may not come over the Chief Justice position since both Thomas and Scalia are already on the court and have been approved before. The bigger battles may come when other justices retire and Bush puts forward new names for the court.
It’s likely safer to assume that any pro-life nominee will face stern opposition from leading abortion advocacy groups given the press statements.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid recently seemed to confirm that in a recent interview when he said Thomas would likely be the subject of another filibuster by pro-abortion Democrats. Reid said it was more likely Scalia could escape the parliamentary tactic that has prevented 10 Bush appeals court judges from being confirmed.