by Steven Ertelt
December 23, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Bush will renominate twenty pro-life judges for key federal court positions a White House spokesman announced Thursday. The decision sets the stage for a fierce debate with Senate Democrats over abortion.
Senate Democrats, with the exception of pro-life Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, frequently used filibusters to block judges they opposed based on their abortion views, including ten nominees to federal appeals courts.
With several election victories producing a Republican controlled Senate by a 55-45 margin, Bush is ready to relaunch those battles with the hopes that he can find 60 votes to stop filibusters.
"The Senate has a constitutional obligation to vote up or down on a president’s judicial nominees,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a written statement.
"The president nominated highly qualified individuals to the federal courts during his first term, but the Senate failed to vote on many nominations,” McClellan added.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who has a mixed record on abortion, said he was disturbed to hear of the renominations.
"I was extremely disappointed to learn today that the president intends to begin the new Congress by resubmitting extremist judicial nominees,” Reid said in a statement.
Though he has a larger majority, a mostly unified Democratic Party could still block the nominees. Knowing that, Senate Republican leaders are considering several ideas to push through the judicial picks on a majority basis — including rewriting Senate rules to disallow filibusters on judicial confirmation votes.
The list of judicial nominees sent back to the Senate for reconsideration includes pro-life Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, who was given a recess appointment to sit on the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Bush also is re-nominating pro-life Texas Supreme Court judge Priscilla Owen for the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit and Richard Allen Griffin, David W. McKeague and Henry Saad for the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit.
He has selected pro-life California Supreme Court judge Janice Rogers Brown for the D.C. Circuit and William G. Myers III for the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit.
Other nominees never made it to the Senate floor for consideration.
Related web sites:
White House statement on judicial nominees –