by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates surprised Supreme Court observers with a prediction over the weekend that pro-life Chief Justice William Rehnquist was just days away from announcing his retirement. Officials at NARAL put out a press release saying new president Nancy Keenan was ready to comment if he stepped down.
What NARAL is telling its membership goes even further.
In emails to abortion advocates, NARAL says rumors "are flying" that "President Bush is ready to elevate extreme far-right Justice Antonin Scalia to Chief Justice should current Chief Justice William Rehnquist retire."
The pro-abortion organization contends Scalia, who is pro-life, "is out of step with the American people and is one of the Court’s most virulent opponents" of abortion.
NARAL makes it crystal clear what it will do, saying "[We are] trying to stop this nomination before it’s even announced."
"It’s going to be difficult to win this fight against Scalia in the Senate — with your help, we can keep this nomination from ever coming to a Senate vote," the group says in the email.
The organization asks its supporters to contact President Bush and ask him to name a new chief justice who is not pro-life.
Abortion advocates are also told to contact incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has a mixed voting record on abortion, "to stand firm against any attempt to elevate Scalia to Chief Justice."
If Bush chooses Scalia to replace Rehnquist, NARAL may need quite a few letters to help its cause. That’s because Reid has already said he would be open to moving Scalia up to the chief justice position.
In an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press" earlier this month, Reid sharply criticized pro-life Justice Clarence Thomas, but indicated he would be more supportive of Scalia running the Supreme Court.
"I cannot dispute the fact, as I have said, that this is one smart guy," Reid said of the Italian jurist. "And I disagree with many of the results that he arrives at, but his reasons for arriving at those results are very hard to dispute."
However, court observers say Thomas is more likely to get the nod and news reports during the presidential election indicated the Bush administration had already started vetting Thomas for the spot.
Rehnquist has been missing from the court’s proceedings since it began it’s new term. He recently underwent a tracheotomy, a surgical procedure in which a tube is inserted into the throat to aid in breathing.
In 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion by a 7-2 vote. The current court backs abortion by a 6-3 margin.