Leading Senate Republican Confirms Filibuster Possible for Supreme Court Pick

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Leading Senate Republican Confirms Filibuster Possible for Supreme Court Pick

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 25
, 2009

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — In a weekend interview, the number two Republican in the Senate confirmed a potential filibuster is still on the table vis-a-vis a potential pro-abortion nomination from President Barack Obama for the Supreme Court.

Most of the top names for the high court are pro-abortion activists who would abide in the 1973 decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.

Should Obama name one of those activists as the replacement for retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter, Sen. Jon Kyl, a pro-life Arizona Republican, told the news program Fox News Sunday.

Kyl said Republicans would follow through with a filibuster if Obama nominates someone who would legislate from the bench by following Obama’s "empathy" guidelines for issuing rulings instead of the rule of law.

Kyl admitted that the GOP likely doesn’t have the votes to sustain a filibuster but that one would be used if Obama’s nominee is outside the mainstream.

"We will distinguish between a liberal judge on one side and one who doesn’t decide cases on the merits but, rather, on the basis of his or her preconceived ideas," Kyl said.

"That’s probably not going to happen in this case," he said of a filibuster having enough votes to be sustained.

"In extraordinary circumstances … I think both Democrats and Republicans reserve the right to not only oppose a nomination but also prevent vote on the nomination. That should be a rare case. And I would hope that the president’s nominee would not fall into that category," he said.

Obama, who could nominate a Supreme Court nominee as early as Tuesday, said again in an interview carried Saturday on C-SPAN that he wants a judge who won’t just consider the law itself.

"You have to have not only the intellect to be able to effectively apply the law to cases before you," Obama said. "But you have to be able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living."

Kyl responded to that and said he could not support a nominee "who decides cases not based upon the law or the merits but, rather, upon his or her emotions, or feelings or preconceived ideas. That would be a circumstance in which I could not support the nominee."

Meanwhile, Sen Ben Nelson, the only consistent pro-life Democrat in the Senate, said he, too, would keep the filibuster option open and would want a nominee who follows the rule of law rather than making up law from the bench, as was the case in Roe v. Wade.

"We don’t want to have to read judges’ minds. So I think that’s the test—will they be an activist or not?" Nelson told Fox News Sunday.

"I would hope that there wouldn’t be any circumstances that would be so extreme with any of the president’s nominees that the other side would feel the need to filibuster or that I might feel the need to filibuster in a case of extraordinary circumstances."

Leading pro-life advocates are urging Senate Republicans to filibuster any objectionable nominee.

“The other side does not agonize about whether they are going to give a Republican Supreme Court nominee a difficult time, they just do it," said pro-life advocate Gary Bauer.

Those on the pro-life side of the debate remember the attacks on pro-life nominees like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas and the way that Samuel Alito’s wife cried after relentless attacks on him.

Should any senator decide to launch a filibuster, the Senate would need 60 votes to shut off debate and allow a vote on the confirmation of the Supreme Court pick. That’s 10 more than normally needed for a majority confirmation vote.

U.S. Appeals Court judges Diane Wood and Sonia Sotomayor, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno are some of the names Obama is reportedly considering.

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