by Steven Ertelt
December 27, 2004
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Last week, President Bush announced that he would renominate twenty pro-life judges for key federal court positions. The decision sets up a battle over abortion with Senate Democrats and leading abortion advocates wasted no time in condemning the president.
"It looks like Jerry Fallwell got his Christmas wish list into the President on time," new NARAL president Nancy Keenan said sarcastically in reaction.
"But even if he drops these nominations down the Senate’s chimney, there’s nothing he can do to make them any less out of the American mainstream," Keenan claimed.
Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt joined in the attacks.
"The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace and community," Feldt said. "Instead President Bush has decided to re-nominate judges who do not uphold our fundamental human and civil right to make our own childbearing choices."
Feldt’s group singled out three of the most strongly pro-life judges for opposition: California Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen, and Alabama Attorney General William H. Pryor.
All three have been named to federal appeals courts.
With several election victories producing a Republican controlled Senate by a 55-45 margin, Bush is ready to re-launch those battles with the hopes that he can find 60 votes to stop filibusters.
Though the president 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.
Over the weekend, Senate Democrats said that would be a mistake.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he would tie up all Senate business if Republicans changed the filibuster rules.
"It will be very difficult to get even the most routine work done in the Senate," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said in an interview Sunday.
In an interview Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, newly-elected senator Ken Salazar of Colorado said, "To abandon a precedent which has been part of the history of the United States Senate for more than two centuries is something we ought not to do."
"It’s going to be a bloody fight," he said. "And I would hope it can be avoided."
Seven of the twenty nominees were filibustered by Senate Democrats while the rest never made it to the Senate floor for consideration.
Related web sites:
White House statement on judicial nominees –