by Steven Ertelt
September 26, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — As the nomination of John Roberts to become the next head of the Supreme Court goes to the full Senate this week, abortion advocates are fighting an uphill battle in their effort to derail it. Additional senators are saying they will vote for Roberts and he has enough backers now to be approved and avoid a filibuster.
Last week, Senate Judiciary Committee approved John Roberts’ bid to become the next Chief Justice on a bipartisan 13-5 vote with three of eight Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting him.
Roberts should be able to enjoy a similar bipartisan vote on the Senate floor.
In addition to the three Democrats on the judicial panel, at least seven other Democrats have confirmed they will vote for Roberts or will likely support him.
That list includes: Ken Salazar of Colorado, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Max Baucus of Montana, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
All 55 Republicans are expected to vote for Roberts and, thus far, twelve of the 44 Democrats have indicated they will back him as well.
Despite the virtual assurance Roberts will be confirmed, abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood are still calling on their troops to swamp the Senate with calls and emails against him.
"We urge you to be active now to make your voice heard in this process," Planned Parenthood interim president Karen Pearl wrote in an email to supporters at the end of last week.
"The fate of women should not be placed in the hands of a man who refuses to affirm [abortion]," Pearl wrote. "We strongly believe that John Roberts’ confirmation will jeopardize [abortion]."
Pearl is mostly worried about the how a strong vote for Roberts will impact President Bush’s next pick, who could be announced days after the vote on Roberts.
"The next nominee to the court could turn the tide even further against the constitutional protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade," Pearl said. "It is important for as many senators as possible to signal their willingness to stand up to the White House if the next nominee … has a record that is hostile to [abortion]."
Roberts’ nomination is so assured that senators are expected to talk more about issues Roberts will face on the court and President Bush’s next nominee rather than Roberts’ merits. A vote is planned for Thursday.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has said he would vote against Roberts, but he indicated he will not filibuster.
In the last votes on Supreme Court nominees, pro-life Justice Clarence Thomas was approved 52-48, pro-abrotion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg received a 96-3 vote and the Senate backed pro-abortion Justice Stephen Breyer by an 87-9 margin.