National Pro-Life Group: Sonia Sotomayor Will Back Abortion on Supreme Court

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

National Pro-Life Group: Sonia Sotomayor Will Back Abortion on Supreme Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 29
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — Should the Senate confirm appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, they will be adding another abortion advocate to its ranks. That’s the gist of a new letter the National Right to Life Committee sent members of the Senate in an attempt to defeat her nomination.

Yesterday, Sotomayor received a 13-6 vote from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of her nomination to replace retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter.

With a vote in the full Senate expected as early as next week, NRLC wants senators to know the kind of nominee they will be considering and the potential ramifications of adding her to the Supreme Court.

The National Right to Life letter acknowledges that "Sotomayor has encountered little in the way of abortion-related litigation, either at the district court or the court of appeals" during her tenure as a judge.

"Yet, there are many troubling indications that Ms. Sotomayor believes that it is the proper role of the U.S. Supreme Court to construct and enforce constitutional doctrines on social policy questions," the letter explains.

NRLC notes that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision in 1973 that allowed virtually unlimited abortions, "was imposed by seven Supreme Court justices" in "an exercise in judicial legislation."

"The evidence indicates that Ms. Sotomayor approves of the Roe ruling and approves of the type of judicial activism that produced it," the letter says.

As other pro-life groups have noted, NRLC refers to Sotomayor’s time on the governing board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF) and chairman of its litigation committee.

"During her tenure on the board, the PRLDEF was actively involved in litigation that attempted to persuade the Supreme Court to expand the judge-created ‘right to abortion,’ often beyond what the Court was willing to embrace," NRLC notes. "During this period, the fund joined briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court in six abortion-related cases."

NRLC says the briefs authored during Sotomayor’s leadership urged the Court to regard abortion as a “fundamental right," to apply the strictest standard of scrutiny when reviewing abortion-regulated laws, and thereby to nullify informed consent requirements (including those involving ultrasound), waiting periods, parental notification requirements, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion, and even record keeping requirements.

The PRLDEF’s own “statement of interest” in three of these cases said that the PRLDEF “opposes any efforts to overturn or in any way restrict the rights recognized in Roe v. Wade.

"During her recent confirmation hearings, Ms. Sotomayor suggested that she was only aware of this litigation activity in the most general terms, and had no responsibility for or awareness of the substance of the briefs. Frankly, this testimony was not very believable," NRLC says.

The letter notes that the New York Times described her time with PRLDEF as one where she was "frequently meeting with the legal staff to review the status of cases."

Although Sotomayor talked about respecting precedent during her confirmation hearings, NRLC says she can throw out that respect once she joins the high court and overturn previous cases allowing at least some limits on abortions.

"Nor, it appears, will she feel greatly constrained by the text and history of the Constitution, in which Roe v. Wade and its progeny find no support," NRLC adds.

"Because the available evidence strongly suggests that once on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor will seek to nullify abortion-related laws adopted through the normal legislative processes of our democracy, consistent with the extreme legal theories with which she was associated before being appointed to the federal bench, National Right to Life urges all senators to vote against her confirmation to the Supreme Court," the letter concludes.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life –

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