Top Senate Republican: Filibuster Unlikely to Stop Obama Supreme Court Pick

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 6, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Top Senate Republican: Filibuster Unlikely to Stop Obama Supreme Court Pick

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 6
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The top Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee says it is unlikely that he will use a filibuster to stop the nominee President Barack Obama sends for the Supreme Court. Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is pro-life, says it would take an extraordinary circumstance for it to come into play.

With Senate Democrats having such a large majority and virtually all Democrats and a handful of Republicans supporting abortion, a filibuster is one of the few tools pro-life advocates have to stop a pro-abortion nominee.

However, Sessions, the new ranking minority member on the judicial panel,says he doesn’t expect it will be used.

He said in an interview after talking with President Obama about the selection process that he thinks the Gang of 14 that came into being during the discussion of President Bush’s judicial picks will stick around for Obama’s.

That was the bipartisan group of seven Republicans and seven Democrats who promised to break any potential filibuster and allow an up or down vote on the nominees.

Sessions also told the media that he doesn’t think Obama plans to nominate a “bomb-thrower” to replace retiring pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice David Souter, but he pledged to make sure the nominee had a thorough hearing.

"The nominee deserves a fair evaluation, and I will insist on a fair hearing, but I will also ensure that the questioning be a rigorous and thorough examination of his or her qualifications," he said, according to the New York Times.

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, tells she appreciates Sessions’ desire for a full hearing but doesn’t think the Senate should "fast-track" any Supreme Court nominee.

“We applaud … his commitment to give a ‘fair evaluation’ of all nominees for the Supreme Court. He has an excellent record and we have confidence he will do what’s right in properly vetting this nomination," Yoest said.

“We appeal to Sen. Sessions to halt the idea implied by Sen. Hatch that President Obama will fast track this selection to the Court," she added. "Proper evaluation of each nominee will help ensure that he or she is qualified and values application of the law, and is not a liberal judicial activist seeking to impose their own political agenda from the bench."

Yoest said it is especially important for the Senate to thoroughly evaluate any nominee because most of the potential appointments observers are discussing are pro-abortion.

“Several of the potential nominees being reported are, indeed, either not qualified or have records of judicial activism a strong indication that they would use the Court to roll back abortion restrictions made by the American people through their elected representatives such as partial birth abortion and parental notification," she explained.

“Sen. Sessions, we urge you to begin your role as ranking minority member by putting the brakes on rushing through a Supreme Court nominee," she concluded.

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