Pro-Life Group Details Pro-Abortion Views of Likely Obama Supreme Court Picks

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 19, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Details Pro-Abortion Views of Likely Obama Supreme Court Picks

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 19
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-life legal group has compiled a detailed analysis of the pro-abortion views of the several leading contenders from which President Barack Obama is expected to pick the next Supreme Court justice.

Americans United for Life indicates pro-life advocates should expect a fierce battle over abortion with virtually any of the leading candidates.

Elena Kagan, the Solicitor General of the United States and the former dean of Harvard Law School, has made the high-end of the list of potential nominees from most political observers.

AUL indicates Kagan is at odds with a Supreme Court decision that upholds the right of government to stop taxpayer-funded abortions.

"Kagan has publicly and repeatedly criticized Rust v. Sullivan, a 1991 U.S Supreme Court decision upholding federal regulations that prohibit recipients of Title X family planning funds from counseling on or referring women for abortions," AUL says.

"Ignoring the American public’s opposition to the use of taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly subsidize abortion, Kagan argued that the regulations amounted to the subsidization of ‘anti-abortion’ speech," AUL continues.

Earlier, while serving as a clerk for pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Kagan wrote a memo suggesting that staff and volunteers at pregnancy centers should not play a role in counseling pregnant teens because they would not be able to do so without injecting their religious beliefs.

Justice Leah Ward Sears, the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, is another potential pick.

Justice Sears has not issued any known decision on life-related issues, but AUL indicates "Sears has evidenced a broad conception of substantive constitutional privacy — the very basis upon which Roe v. Wade is predicated."

Sears has "referred to the responsibility of courts to protect constitutional rights against ‘morals legislation’ the majority," AUL notes, which concerns it regarding abortion issues.

Another potential Obama pick, Kathleen Sullivan of the Stanford Law School, is pro-abortion as well.

"Sullivan, who has no judicial experience, published an article in the August 1992 New Jersey Law Journal, commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and arguing that legal status of abortion should be decided by the courts, particularly the U.S. Supreme Court, and not the American people through the democratic process," AUL indicates.

"Sullivan argued that ‘women’s reproductive freedom’ was ‘too precious and fragile’ to be ‘left to politics,’" Sullivan added in the article.

Sullivan has also argued for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), which would overturn all pro-life laws across the country and make Roe v. Wade, and its allowance for abortions throughout pregnancy for any reasons, national law.

The only potential Supreme Court justice who may provide hope for pro-life advocates is Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, has been the subject of considerable speculation because Obama is receiving pressure to appoint both a woman and Hispanic and she qualifies on both counts.

"Despite 17 years on the bench, Judge Sotomayor has never directly decided whether a law regulating abortion was constitutional," AUL explains.

Sotomayor participated in a decision concerning the Mexico City Policy, which President Obama recently overturned and which prohibits sending taxpayer dollars to groups that promote and perform abortions in other nations.

Writing for the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor upheld the Mexico City Policy, but AUL says the significance of the decision "may be minimal because the issue was largely controlled by the Second Circuit’s earlier opinion in a similar challenge to the policy."

AUL notes that Judge Sotomayor also upheld the pro-life policy by rejecting claims from a pro-abortion legal group that it violated the Equal Protection Clause.

"Rejecting this new argument, Justice Sotomayor wrote that because the challenge involved neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right," AUL notes. "She then acknowledged the ability of the government to adopt anti-abortion policies, noting, ‘there can be no question that the classification survives rational basis review. The Supreme Court has made clear that the government is free to favor the anti-abortion position over the pro-choice position, and can do so with public funds.’"

At the same time, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion overturning, in part, a district court’s grant of summary judgment against a group of pro-life protestors.

Though not concerning abortion policy directly, the case is viewed as a stand against free speech for pro-life advocates.

AUL also profiled other top potential nominees, including Diane Wood, Janet Napolitano, Jennifer Granholm, and pro-abortion Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

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