Obama Talks With Senators About Supreme Court, Pro-Lifer May Lead Opposition

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 4, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Talks With Senators About Supreme Court, Pro-Lifer May Lead Opposition

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 4
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — President Barack Obama on Monday spoke with two senators about a potential nominee for the Supreme Court. With pro-abortion Justice David Souter retiring in June, groups on both sides of the abortion debate are preparing for a monumental battle.

Today, Obama spoke with two key senators, pro-life Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who recently defected to the Democratic Party.

Both are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings on any nominee and potentially pave the way for a full Senate vote.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs confirmed the phone calls and said the search process for a potential Supreme Court nominee began "some time ago" with the expectation that Obama would have at least one shot at shaping the high court.

He said the Obama administration "began identifying a long time ago candidates for what we assumed might be an eventual pick for the Supreme Court."

While it is unclear on when Obama will name a replacement for Souter, Gibbs made it appear that pro-life advocates should expect a battle this summer.

"We’re on a fairly tight timeline to probably get something done before Congress gets out of town in August," he said. By late July, "obviously this process has to be a decent ways down the field."

The concern for pro-life advocates is that Obama will replace Souter with a young pro-abortion judge who will keep Roe v. Wade and its allowance of virtually unlimited abortions in place for decades.
"I think you always assume, rightly so, that whomever you choose is going to have a significant impact on the court for quite some time," Gibbs said.

Observers on Monday suggested that Obama would likely look for a woman candidate to fill the post and become the second woman on the high court along with pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Gibbs, during his press conference, appeared to give credence to the argument he will go with a woman or a minority.

Gibbs said Obama would focus on finding the "most qualified person in his estimation whether it’s a he or a she."

At the same time, he said, "The President described that there should be a diversity of experience. I am sure he will look at candidates with a diversity in background."

Meanwhile, it appears a pro-life senator could lead the opposition to a pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee for Republicans.

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions will become the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee now that Specter has changed parties. He will remain as the ranking minority member for the rest of the Congressional session.

The decision to have Sessions lead the panel will have to be ratified by Senate Republicans during a caucus meeting on Tuesday.

Ironically, Sessions was defeated by the judiciary panel in 1986 on a 9-9 vote after President Ronald Reagan selected Sessions for a federal judgeship.

Hatch would become the ranking minority member but he is term limited, Sen. Charles Grassley would have to give up his position as ranking member of the Finance Committee, and Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona would have to give up his leadership post for the position.

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