Approach on John Roberts, Abortion May Split California Senators

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 19, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Approach on John Roberts, Abortion May Split California Senators Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 19, 2005

Washington, DC ( — California’s two U.S. senators are both Democrats, both abortion advocates and both oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, the case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions. However, they may have different approaches on the nomination of John Roberts to the high court and may, ultimately, vote differently.

Political observers say the approaches taken on Roberts by Sen. Barbara Boxer, an activist liberal, and Diane Feinstein, an establishment liberal, are epidemic of how Senate Democrats could split on his nomination.

Many Democrats, like Feinstein, have had kind words and praises for the nominee and have indicated they will not filibuster Roberts’ bid unless something earth-shattering is revealed. Others, like Boxer, have indicated they will vote against Roberts or possibly filibuster his nomination unless he commits to upholding Roe.

Boxer told a group of abortion activists earlier this month that she will "use all the parliamentary tools I’ve been given as a U.S. senator” to delay or stop Roberts’ nomination if he refuses to support legal abortion during his confirmation hearings, which begin September 6.

Feinstein, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, says a filibuster isn’t likely and, after, her private meeting with Roberts, spoke highly of him.

"I don’t think there’s anybody on the court quite like he will be," she said at the time, describing him as "very impressive" and exuding "humility and modesty."

Feinstein did not appear at a press conference with other pro-abortion Senate Democratic women who threatened to vote against Roberts or filibuster his nomination if he opposes abortion.

When she ultimately joins Boxer and abortion activists who will make the issue a litmus test on Roberts or whether she joins moderate Democrats who may oppose a filibuster could be a good indication of whether Roberts will become the next Supreme Court justice.