Senate Republican Leader Says Filibuster Still on Table Over Sonia Sotomayor
by Steven Ertelt
June 15, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The number one Republican lawmaker in the Senate says a filibuster possibility is still on the table with regard to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The appeals court judge is President Barack Obama’s first selection for the high court and evidence makes it appear she supports abortion.
With Republicans holding so few seats in the Senate, a filibuster is viewed as the only method of stopping Sotomayor from receiving Senate approval.
During an interview with CBS’s "Face the Nation" program, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a pro-life Kentucky lawmaker, said the filibuster option is available but he doesn’t know whether it will be used.
"It’s way too early to be talking about whether anybody opposes this nominee," McConnell said. "The Democrats have firmly established that as precedent, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to use it."
McConnell said he opposed filibusters used during the Bush years but said that, since Democrats had established it as a precedent, Republicans should have the option to use the parliamentary stalling tactic if they desire.
"I have consistently opposed filibustering judges, did it during the Clinton years. But I lost that fight. The Senate will filibuster judges … The Democrats have firmly established that as precedent, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to use it," he said.
McConnell also said he is disappointed that Senate Democrats have called for hearings and a Senate vote before the August recess.
"[Sotomayor] has a very long record, and what they are trying to do is insist on the shortest time frame for someone who has the longest record of any Supreme Court nominee that we’ve considered in recent times," McConnell said.
The big question regarding Sotomayor s whether she will uphold the Roe v. Wade case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
Leading pro-abortion groups have been moderately supportive of Sotomayor’s nomination and President Barack Obama, along with members of the Senate who back abortion, have said they are comfortable with Sotomayor’s abortion views.
Once piece of evidence they cite is a legal brief the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund submitted to the Supreme Court as it considered the case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989.
A prominent pro-life attorney says he thinks a legal brief from a group Sotomayor supported provides some direction.
Although Sotomayor did not author the brief, and others that the group filed promoting abortion, she served on the organization’s board of directors form 1980 to 1992 and, presumably, knew about the brief and did not apparently lodge any objections to it or to her organization promoting abortion.
Judge Sotomayor has avoided abortion decisions while she was on the bench," Americans United for Life Fellow Patrick Nagorski says. "However, she was a leading member of the PRDF when it filed this amicus brief with the Supreme Court."
Clarke Forsythe, the senior legal counsel for the pro-life group, says the legal brief is a pro-abortion smoking gun of sorts.
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