Senate Democrats Reject Pro-Life Bush Nominee for Federal Judge Post

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Democrats Reject Pro-Life Bush Nominee for Federal Judge Post

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Richard Honaker hasn’t received notice from Senate Democrats that they have rejected his nomination for a federal judgeship or will never take a vote on it. The pro-life Wyoming attorney has resigned himself to the fact that he will not become a judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

Honaker, an attorney and former state legislator, received an appointment from President Bush two years ago to the position.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on his nomination in February but never took action on it.

Honaker 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.

He told the Casper Star Tribune newspaper that he think his pro-life views made it so Senate Democrats wouldn’t vote on his nomination.

"I think if I had not sponsored pro-life legislation nearly 20 years ago, my nomination would have been uncontroversial. I think it’s about that simple," Honaker said.

"I’m assuming that after watching the process for nearly two years, I have no reason to believe they will consider any more judicial nominations until the next administration," he added.

The nomination received bipartisan support from Wyoming elected officials and leaders and had the backing of Right to Life of Wyoming, but pro-abortion advocates launched a nationwide crusade against him.

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

Presidents have an opportunity to make recess appointments and Bush could have given Honaker a chance to serve for a short time, but pro-abortion Senate Democrats convened 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 have filled 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.

Honaker now plans to return to private practice.

ACTION: Send your criticism of a lack of a vote on Mr. Honaker to Sen. Pat Leahy, 433 Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510, call (202) 224-4242 or email [email protected]

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