Senate Republicans Boycott Hearing on Obama’s First Pro-Abortion Judicial Pick

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

Senate Republicans Boycott Hearing on Obama’s First Pro-Abortion Judicial Pick

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 1
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Senate Republican today boycotted the hearing on President Barack Obama’s first pro-abortion judge and said Senate Democrats are rushing through the nomination. They complained that the chamber’s majority Democrats would not give President Bush’s pro-life nominees timely hearings.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a leading GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, complained that Republicans were not given more time to research the background and body of work of David Hamilton.

Obama nominated David Hamilton, currently a federal judge in Indiana, to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hamilton’s nomination has drawn strong opposition from pro-life groups because he single-handedly prevented the enforcement of Indiana’s informed consent law, which allows women to be given information before an abortion that points out its alternatives and medical risks.

"There is no reason for scheduling a drive-by hearing only days after nomination except to turn the Senate into a rubber stamp for President Obama’s nominees," Hatch said, according to the Deseret News. "Senators take their advice and consent role seriously and need enough time to discharge this responsibility."

Instead of attending the hearing, Republicans released a letter to Chairman Patrick Leahy, the pro-abortion committee chairman.

"None of President Bush’s circuit court nominees received a hearing so quickly," their letter said. The missive asked Leahy to wait to hold the hearing until after the Senate breaks next week for its Easter Day recess.

The letter also noted that Senate Democrats took, on average, 166 days to schedule hearings for Bush’s nominees while Hamilton’s nomination came from President Obama just weeks ago.

Leahy responded that Republicans are merely trying to stall or obstruct the confirmation process and pointed out that he delayed hearings on other Obama nominees at their request.

"I understand that senators could always use more time to prepare and that this is a busy week. However, with a two-week Easter recess approaching, I did not want to delay this proceeding another two weeks," Leahy said.

Looking at Hamilton’s history, he was initially appointed by President Clinton to a district judgeship in Indiana in 1994 even though the ABA gave him a “not qualified” rating.

In that position, Hamilton issued a series of rulings over seven years that prevented Indiana from implementing its informed consent law.

The 7th Circuit Court, which overturned Hamilton’s ruling, issued a statement chiding him for holding up the law.

"For seven years Indiana has been prevented from enforcing a statute materially identical to a law held valid by the Supreme Court in Casey, by this court in Karlin, and by the fifth circuit in Barnes," the appeals judges wrote in their decision.

"No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana [i.e., Hamilton]) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey," they added. "[I]t is an abuse of discretion for a district judge to issue a pre-enforcement injunction while the effects of the law (and reasons for those effects) are open to debate."

Although President Obama claims to want to reduce abortions, his appellate court pick prevented a law from going into effect that has been proven to reduce abortions when put in place in other states.

Prior to becoming a federal judge, Hamilton was the vice president for litigation and a board member of the Indiana branch of the ACLU, a top pro-abortion law firm.

Despite the opposition to the quick hearing from Republicans, Hamilton’s nomination has already drawn support from GOP Sen. Dick Lugar and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, both from Indiana.

ACTION: Contact your members of the Senate and express your opposition to Hamilton’s nomination. You can find contact information for any senator at

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