by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A Tuesday afternoon vote made official the end of a lengthy battle over the next chairman of the important Senate Judiciary Committee. After a tenuous confrontation with pro-life groups, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, an abortion advocate, will chair the key panel.
Republican members of the judicial committee voted 10-0 in favor of Specter becoming the next chairman.
"I’m pleased," Specter told the Knight Ridder news agency following the vote. "I’ve been on the committee for 24 years, and it’s a real opportunity to deal with some very important issues which affect the American people."
Perhaps the most contentious topics the committee will address involve the numerous judicial nominees the panel must hold hearings on — including potential new members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In fact, comments about those judicial selections got Specter into trouble.
Specter said it was "unlikely" that any judicial nominees for the top courts who were pro-life would be confirmed by the committee once he became chairman.
Those remarks upset pro-life advocates, who waged an all-out battle to prevent Specter from assuming the gavel. Only a written promise from the longtime senator to hold quick hearings and support Bush’s nominees won him favor with fellow senators and secured the vote.
Pro-life groups eventually met with Specter after he received enough support to assure him of the chairmanship.
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said events may have worked out to the benefit of pro-life groups and Bush’s pro-life judicial picks.
"In the end this could be much better than having a disgruntled Republican, ousted from a potential chairmanship, conspiring with the few remaining liberal Republicans," to oppose Bush’s nominees, Perkins said after the meeting.
However, Perkins said his groups and others would hold Specter’s feet to the fire.
"We will, however, make sure that those promises are kept alive," Perkins said.
Related web sites:
Family Research Council – https://www.frc.org