Democrats Want More Input on Supreme Court Appointment

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 6, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 6, 2005

Washington, DC ( — President Bush has already made overtures to Senate Democrats to obtain input on his choice to replace outgoing pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. But Democrats say the phone calls he’s placed so far are not enough.

While they appreciate the phone calls made by Bush and top White House staff, Senate Democrats say they want even more input on the nominee.

Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois received a call from White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, who also phoned Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Charles Schumer of New York and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The phone calls didn’t involve a discussion of any names on President Bush’s short list of possible candidates, and that’s what upsets Democrats.

"To be meaningful, consultation should include who the president is really considering so we can give responsive and useful advice," Kennedy told the Associated Press.

Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said in a statement that he welcomed the White House effort "to reach out in a bipartisan manner and actively consult" with him and Democratic leaders, but he said Bush should do more to talk with Democrats to understand "the importance of finding a nominee in the political mainstream."

The president personally called Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, last Friday when he received word from O’Connor that she was retiring.

Bush has said in interviews that he plans to consult with Democrats and receive their input. However, the final selection rests with him and, according to one Republican senator, that’s what chagrins Democrats.

"For some senators and outside groups, no amount of consultation will ever be sufficient," pro-life Texas Sen. John Cornyn told AP.

Bush will have a chance to further inform Senate Democrats with Reid and Leahy join Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania at the White House on Monday.

Pro-life groups say they’re closing watching Senate Democrats to see if they will engage in a filibuster to try to block Bush’s Supreme Court nominee from getting a vote on the Senate floor.

"Millions of Americans will be watching to see whether the Senate Democratic leadership bows to the demands of certain pressure groups that a nominee must pledge to rule for the pro-abortion side in future cases," National Right to Life Committee political director Carol Tobias said.

"Already, some Democratic senators, such as Ted Kennedy, are clearly demanding a litmus test," Tobias added.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life Committee –