Pro-Life Groups Blast Senate Compromise, Abortion Orgs Happy

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Groups Blast Senate Compromise, Abortion Orgs Happy Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 24, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Pro-life groups on Tuesday blasted a compromise deal reached late Monday that would likely kill any chance of changing Senate rules on filibusters, confirm only three of President Bush’s pro-life judicial picks, and offer no guarantees Supreme Court nominees won’t be filibustered.

Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, said the Senate agreement "represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats."

"The rules that blocked conservative nominees remain in effect, and nothing of significance has changed," Dobson added. "The unconstitutional filibuster survives in the arsenal of Senate liberals."

Paul Weyrich, chairman of Free Congress Foundation in Washington, agreed and said the plan is an "outrage” that "solves nothing.” He said Republicans lost their main objective — "to get rid of the filibuster for the Supreme Court.”

On the other side of the abortion debate, pro-abortion groups were pleased with the deal.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, said her group was "heartened that the crisis has been averted and the right to filibuster preserved for upcoming Supreme Court nominations."

"We are confident that a Supreme Court nominee who won’t even state a position on Roe v. Wade is the kind of ‘extraordinary circumstance’ this deal envisions," Keenan added.

"The agreement embodies the very principle of consultation and consensus that the filibuster encourages,” said Ralph Neas, head of People for the American Way, in a statement. Still, he said, "We are deeply concerned that it could lead to confirmation of appeals court judges who would undermine Americans’ rights and freedoms.”

Neas called the deal a "major defeat for the radical right."

Under the agreement, some of President Bush’s judicial picks will receive votes while the nominations of others will be scuttled.

Perhaps more importantly, in exchange for opposing any effort to change Senate rules, the seven Democrats would promote not to filibuster Bus’s judicial nominations for the Supreme Court unless "under extraordinary circumstances," McCain said.

But what constitutes such a circumstance has pro-life groups and some lawmakers worried. They fear the Democrats could name any potential high court pick "extreme" and join the rest of the Senate Democrats in filibustering them.

On that point, former presidential candidate Gary Bauer said the deal was a "sellout," and "the desire of millions of Americans to restore balance to our federal courts has been thwarted behind closed doors by 14 senators."

"Radical social change will continue to be forced on the American people by liberal courts committed to … abortion on demand," Bauer warned.

Pro-life groups are urging the Senate to quickly confirm the judges the seven Democrats indicated they will support, including Texas Supreme Court judge Priscilla Owen, California Supreme Court judge Janice Rogers Brown, and former Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor.

All three pro-life judges have been nominated to appeals court positions.