Senate Abortion Advocates Continue Blocking Bush Pro-Life Judicial Pick

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Abortion Advocates Continue Blocking Bush Pro-Life Judicial Pick

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 11
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Abortion advocates in the U.S. Senate continue to hold up a pro-life former state legislator President Bush selected to become a Wyoming federal judge. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Richard Honaker in February but may never take a vote on his nomination.

Honaker, an attorney and former state legislator, received an appointment from President Bush to the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

Pro-abortion groups have fiercely opposed Honaker’s nomination because of his efforts to prohibit abortions in Wyoming.

He is known in pro-life circles for proposing the Human Life Protection Act in the state legislature in 1991 and was behind a subsequent state ballot vote in 1994. Voters defeated the ballot measure that year.

Although Bush nominated the respected attorney 17 months ago, abortion advocates have never allowed a confirmation vote in committee or on the Senate floor.

In a recent statement, NARAL president Nancy Keenan said she’s glad pro-abortion Senate leaders have strong-armed the nomination.

"We will continue to monitor this nomination. It’s positive that the Honaker nomination hasn’t moved forward, but we won’t take anything for granted," she said.

Meanwhile, pro-life Wyoming Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso continue to lobby their colleagues to support the nomination, according to an AP report.

"While some groups suggest that Mr. Honaker is a one-issue ideologue, we can assure you that such is not the case," they wrote in a recent letter. "Mr. Honaker will serve Wyoming and our country with distinction and he deserves prompt consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee."

Presidents have an opportunity to make recess appointments and Bush could give Honaker a chance to serve for a short time, but pro-abortion Senate Democrats are convening the Senate every few days during the August recess to prevent Bush from making a recess appointment.

During his questioning in the Senate committee, Honaker confirmed his legislation was an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade but he said his role as a legislator is “absolutely contrary” to the role a judge plays and promised he would not legislate from the bench.

“I recognize the right to privacy, and I recognize the precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” he said, in acknowledging that lower courts follow the lead of the nation’s highest. “That is the law of the land, and I would apply it."

Honaker would fill the seat vacated by U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer, who is retiring and taking on senior status.

He is a Harvard graduate with a law degree from the University of Wyoming. He has a private practice in the state and has been the head of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association and the Wyoming State Bar.

Right to Life of Wyoming strongly supports the Honaker nomination and has encouraged its members to support his confirmation in the Senate.

"The nomination of Richard Honaker is consistent with the kind of judges President Bush has appointed the to federal courts in the past. He’s someone who will uphold the rule of law and not engage in political advocacy from the bench," the group says.

"Because of his pro-life views and past efforts to protect human life, it’s obvious that Richard Honaker joins with attorneys on both side of the abortion debate who understand that Roe v. Wade was an example of unadulterated judicial activism and that the role of the courts is to interpret the law — not make it up as you go," the group added.

ACTION: Contact your senator and urge support for Richard Honaker’s nomination by calling 202-224-3121 or going to


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