by Steven Ertelt
July 4, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is dodging media speculation that he could be one of President Bush’s top choices to replace outgoing pro-abortion Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor. Pro-life groups and lawmakers still say they prefer a different nominee because of Gonzales’ sketchy views on the topic.
During a surprise trip to Iraq over the weekend, Gonzales deflected questions about a potential high court nomination and brushed off criticism from pro-life advocates of his abortion position.
In a Washington Post interview, Gonzales was asked about speculation he could be named to the nation’s leading court.
"I just look at the job that I do as attorney general. I’m happy in that job," he said.
Gonzales has been a thorn in the side for the pro-life movement because of his decisions while he was a member of the Texas Supreme Court.
As a member of the Texas Supreme Court, Gonzales voted to allow a handful of teenagers to use the judicial bypass of the state’s parental notification law to obtain an abortion. That provision allows teens in abusive home situations to avoid telling their parents and have an abortion.
That makes pro-life advocates very wary that Gonzales could be another vote in favor of Roe v. Wade and keeping abortion legal.
"President Bush must nominate someone whose judicial philosophy is crystal clear," said James Dobson, founder Focus on the Family, echoing the concerns of many pro-life groups.
"And no one has been clearer about this than the president himself, who said during his campaign that he would appoint justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia," Dobson said.
Brad Berenson, a White House lawyer during Bush’s first term, summed up the worry for pro-life advocates in an interview with CNN.
"When the right looks at Judge Gonzales, they have tended to worry they are getting another David Souter," he said, referring to a Supreme Court justice who has strongly backed abortion despite initial pre-confirmation appearances he was pro-life.
Though he may face opposition from pro-life groups, some Republicans in the Senate would support a Gonzales nomination.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told CBS’s "Face the Nation” that Gonzales "is a terrific human being, a good lawyer” who would do well on the court.
"If the president chooses Alberto Gonzales, I think we would all feel pretty good about it," Hatch added. ”If he gets picked, I’m certainly going to support" him.
Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, also defended Gonzales.
"I don’t think the social conservatives ought to prejudge Attorney General Gonzales. Attorney General Gonzales may not even be in the picture," he told ABC’s "This Week.”
Gonzales said he would continue to be involved in helping President Bush select nominees for federal courts, including the Supreme Court. He is credited with helping the president accumulate a near perfect track record of appointing pro-life advocates to judges who respect the rule of law and will uphold pro-life legislation.