Senate Will Stop Pro Forma Sessions, Allow Pro-Abortion Obama Appointments

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 1, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Will Stop Pro Forma Sessions, Allow Pro-Abortion Obama Appointments

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 1
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Now that pro-abortion incoming president Barack Obama will replace outgoing pro-life President George W. Bush, the Senate is expected to end its practice of pro forma sessions to block recess appointments. The Senate has held 30 second sessions every fourth day to prevent Bush appointments.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who backs abortion, started the practice shortly after Democrats won control of the Senate in 2006.

He went as far as to develop a two-year calendar and appointed specific members of the Senate to preside over the pro forma sessions — all designed to block Bush’s judicial appointments.

There are no votes taken, no one gives a speech and the entire process of the session is done in less than a minute. But the official meeting took away President Bush’s ability to make recess appointments of pro-life judges to federal district and appeals courts.

The result is that Bush was unable to temporarily appoint judges the Senate Democrats would not likely approve in committee or in the full Senate — people like Richard Honaker.

That leaves a large number of vacant seats that Obama can fill with abortion advocates who will be more likely to declare pro-life legislation approved by state legislatures unconstitutional.

Those judges will come in addition to the one to three pro-abortion Supreme Court appointments Obama is expected to make.

When the time comes for Barack Obama to make his first selection for the Supreme Court, Harold Hongju Koh, the dean of Yale Law School, is one of the people on his short list. A Koh nomination would be a severe blow to the pro-life movement as he would assuredly vote to uphold Roe v. Wade.

During the campaign, so-called pro-life Catholic attorney Douglas Kmiec said Obama would want pro-abortion judges in the mold of Stephen Breyer and David Souter and mentioned Koh as a possible nominee.

But Piero A. Tozzi, of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, points out that Koh is strongly pro-abortion.

Tozzi worries that Koh, as a Supreme Court justice, would use a new standard beyond the so-called privacy basis to justify keeping Roe and its ruling that unlimited abortions should be legal throughout pregnancy for any reason.

"A Koh nomination would revive debate over the importation of ‘transnational’ social norms on contentious issues like abortion," Tozzi writes.

Tozzi notes that Koh’s academic writings have redefined sovereignty as “a nation’s capacity to participate in international affairs,” and have blurred any distinctive national identity.

"Koh goes on to say that the way a nation exercises sovereignty responsibly is to accept all United Nations (UN) documents and the UN human rights review process," Tozzi writes.

With the United Nations, aided by a supportive Obama administration, possibly setting out to make abortion an international right and approving documents requiring countries across the globe to honor that right, a Koh appointment would make it that much harder to overturn Roe.

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