Senate Begins Hearing on Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Pick Sotomayor Monday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Begins Hearing on Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Pick Sotomayor Monday

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 8
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to begin hearings on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Monday. Though Republican lawmakers are grumbling about the accelerated hearing process and not having enough time to review last-minute documents, they are allowing the hearing to move ahead.

Sotomayor is a federal appeals court judge President Barack Obama selected to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter, one of the five members who make up the court’s pro-abortion majority.

Leading pro-life groups are opposing Sotomayor because it appears she will join that pro-abortion bloc that supports Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions nationwide.

Recent documents show her involvement in the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, a group that has submitted numerous Supreme Court briefs arguing for an unrestricted right to abortion and claiming any pro-life limits are racist. Sotomayor served as a board member of the organization and has been described as actively involved in setting policy.

The documents also show the group, now known as Latino Justice, took a strong stance against pro-life Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

The Senate went on to reject President Ronald Reagan’s high court pick in 1987 after abortion advocates subjected him to intense criticism.

Though they would like more time to review the papers they received last week, pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, says he and his colleagues will not stop the hearings from proceeding.

“I don’t know of any plan to do that,” Sessions told CQ. “We’re going to do our best to be ready Monday.”

Still, Sessions and pro-life Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, are raising questions about Sotomayor and many Republicans may vote against her confirmation in committee and on the floor.

Members of the Judiciary Committee appear ready to ask Sotomayor pointed questions about her involvement in the group.

“There are some real questions, and she has done some things that raise real questions in people’s minds — and they have to be explored,” said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, another member of the panel, said the goal may be to present Sotomayor as a judicial activist.

“If she does poorly at the hearing and comes across as someone who seems as an activist, is not qualified for the job, that could hurt her,” Graham said. “That she embraces some judicial theories that would make red-state Democrats uncomfortable — that’s the only way I think she’d get off-track.”

Last month, Sotomayor made a comment during a meeting with one senator that also sent shockwaves throughout the pro-life community.

Senator Jim DeMint, a pro-life Republican from South Carolina, says he had a "good meeting" with the appeals court judge, but he came away with a telling comment.

"When I asked if an unborn child has any rights whatsoever, I was surprised that she said she had never thought about it," he said. "This is not just a question about abortion, but about respect due to human life at all stages — and I hope this is cleared up in her hearings."

Sotomayor has also come under fire for saying she regretted the adoption of a Congressional bill that prevented the Legal Services Corporation from spending taxpayer funds litigating in favor of abortion.

Two key pro-abortion senators have also said they think she will uphold unlimited abortions if confirmed to the high court.

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