Senator: President Obama Could Name Supreme Court Nominee This Week

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 5, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senator: President Obama Could Name Supreme Court Nominee This Week

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 5
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A top Republican senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee says pro-abortion President Barack Obama may name a Supreme Court nominee as early as the end of the week. Sen. Orrin Hatch spoke with Obama on the phone on Monday about a replacement for retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter.

After the phone call, Hatch said he believed Obama would move quickly on naming a replacement because he wants the Senate to complete the confirmation process for a new justice to be in place when the Supreme Court reconvenes this fall.

“I’d be surprised if it went beyond this week," Hatch told the news web site Politico, though he added that Obama did not make any timing commitments.

"I would think by the end of this week or over the weekend, he’ll nominate somebody. I’m sure they’ve discussed this internally, back and forth for months now," Hatch added.

Hatch also told Politico that Obama did not discuss any names with him but appeared to pledge to not appoint a judicial activist to replace one of the five members of the Supreme Court’s pro-abortion majority.

He said Obama "assured me that he would not be picking a radical or an extremist for the court that he was very pragmatic in his approach and that he would pick somebody who would abide by the rule of law.”

Hatch said he didn’t know if Republican lawmakers would filibuster Obama’s judicial selection, but appeared to keep that option in reserve if the nominee is too extreme.

“Naturally we all know that it’s going to be somebody much more liberal than a Republican president would do,” Hatch said. “If he nominates somebody contrary to what he told me, I think there will be a big pitched battle over it.”

White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told Politico that he did not dispute Hatch’s account of the call but he made it appear a high court selection would not be imminent.

Yesterday, Obama also spoke with pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter, who left the Republican Party after seeing a pro-life challenger may defeat him in a Pennsylvania primary battle next year.

In a statement after the phone call, Specter made it appear Obama would take longer to make a selection, if only because he asked the senator for suggestions.

“He asked for recommendations and I told him I would think it over and get back to him," he said.

Obama also has a private meeting with pro-abortion Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who joined other senators in asking Obama to name a woman to the Supreme Court to join pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"I urged him to consider a woman to the Supreme Court to keep Justice Ginsburg company and to represent 50 percent of the population," Snowe told the news web site.

Obama’s moves make it appear as if he is reaching out to some Republicans who could potentially go along with a nominee who may be pro-abortion but not seen as extreme enough by some senators to warrant a filibuster.

Such a move would allow him the opportunity to appoint someone of a pro-abortion ideology he prefers yet who won’t have a contentious confirmation process.

Regardless of the nominee, any hint that the Supreme Court selection supports abortion or would do so from the bench will draw fierce opposition form pro-life organizations.

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.