by Steven Ertelt
December 21, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Leading abortion advocates are continuing to attack pro-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as debate rages about whether President Bush will appoint him or fellow Justice Clarence Thomas to replace the ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist.
Rehnquist has been absent form the court during its current term following surgery to treat thyroid cancer. He has been working from home and speculation mounts that he will step down from the court shortly after swearing in President Bush in January.
Once that happens, political observers say Scalia and Thomas have the best chance to replace Rehnquist.
Abortion advocates aren’t content to wait until a nomination announcement to begin their attack. They’re already mobilizing activists in opposition to the potential nomination of either pro-life judge to lead the nation’s highest court.
Earlier this month, NARAL told its membership that Rehnquist was just days away from retiring and it urged members to contact Bush and leading senators.
Nothing that "rumors are flying," NARAL said "President Bush is ready to elevate extreme far-right Justice Antonin Scalia to Chief Justice."
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.
Abortion advocates aren’t just attacking Scalia’s pro-life record. They’re making their case against him personal.
According to an MSNBC report, Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, last week said Scalia "is so disrespectful of his fellow and sister justices on the court."
"The level of disdain for the other justices in his opinions comes through loud and clear. I’m not sure how they would take being herded by someone who had such disdain for them," Gandy said.
Meanwhile, People for the American Way president Ralph Neas led the fight against pro-life Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. His group has already prepared a 60-page booklet with point by point objections to Scalia’s record.
Pro-abortion groups are hoping nicoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has a mixed voting record on abortion, will hold the line on judges.
Reid has gone along with efforts by leading pro-abortion senators to filibuster key pro-life nominees for federal courts. However, in an interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press" earlier this month, Reid sharply criticized 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."
No matter who Bush appoints, a length abortion battle will likely ensue. That’s becuase a change of just two justices could be enough to tilt the balance of the court away from suppoorting abortion.
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.