Obama Pro-Abortion Judicial Pick David Hamilton Eases Through Senate Hearing

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Pro-Abortion Judicial Pick David Hamilton Eases Through Senate Hearing

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 29
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama’s first judicial nominee, pro-abortion federal district court Judge David Hamilton, sailed through a Senate hearing on Wednesday. The selection for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, who upset pro-life advocates with one of his prior decisions, faced no direct questions on abortion.

The only Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee present for the hearing was pro-life Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

The senator asked Hamilton about a growing concern within pro-life circles that judges are increasingly relying on the use of international law on which to base legal decisions. That is a concern because pro-abortion courts in other nations could be cited as a basis for keeping unlimited legal abortions in the United States.

After the questions, Coburn said Republican lawmakers would ask Hamilton "a large number of questions for the record" and doing so on paper.

"We will be expeditious but also thorough," Coburn said, according to a CQ report.

The panel held a second hearing after Republicans boycotted the first one, saying it was set up too quickly after the nomination and that they were given too little time to research Hamilton’s background.

Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, a pro-abortion Democrat, did not attend the hearing either and, instead, issued a statement urging his Republican colleagues not to delay a vote on Hamilton’s nomination.

"I hope that Republican members will reciprocate by not further delaying this nomination," Leahy said.

Hamilton 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 that would give women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.

Hamilton found his decision against the Indiana informed consent law overturned by the appeals court where he may serve.

In fact, the 7th Circuit Court 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.

Earlier this week, a coalition of pro-life groups sent a letter to members of the Senate urging them to oppose the nomination.

The letter, signed by leaders with Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel and Focus on the Family Action, cites the decision as a reason to oppose Hamilton.

"Hamilton issued a series of rulings over seven years that prevented the state of Indiana from enforcing its informed-consent law requiring abortionists to inform women about the risks of the abortion procedure," the groups say.

"The law was identical to the Pennsylvania statute that the United States Supreme Court upheld in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Judge Hamilton, however, seems to have little concern for the law or precedent, and in a classic case of judicial activism, struck down the law, claiming it imposed an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion," they add.

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.

Hamilton has the backing of Indiana’s Republican senator, Dick Lugar, but pro-life Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, has already pledged to filibuster Hamilton’s nomination.

Meanwhile, pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, another Republican, has also indicated he is potentially voting against Hamilton and perhaps supporting a filibuster of his nomination.

“There is a growing frustration in the Judiciary Committee about a pattern of far-left nominees,” Sessions said. “I believe the president deserves deference, but he’s about used all the deference he’s going to get out of me.”

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals handles cases involving pro-life legislation and other matters from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

ACTION: Contact your members of the Senate and express your opposition to Hamilton’s nomination. You can find contact information for any senator at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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