Senate Begins Debate on Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 4, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate Begins Debate on Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 4
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate has begun its debate on the nomination of appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor, whom pro-abortion President Barack Obama picked for the Supreme Court. Leading pro-life groups say Sotomayor is pro-abortion and cite her involvement in a group that asked the court to keep abortions legal.

Sotomayor is Obama’s first selection for the high court and, should the Senate confirm her, she will replace retiring pro-abortion Justice David Souter.

Souter was one of the members of the group of five justices who support Roe v. Wade, the high court case that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.

Some Republican senators have focused on comments Sotomayor has made about the courts being the place for judicial activism, like that found in Roe, and that has formed the basis for their opposition.

"The primary reason I will not support this nomination… is because I cannot support the so-called empathy standard upon which Judge Sotomayor was selected and to which she, herself, has subscribed in her writings and rulings," pro-life Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.

"A judge must be able to check his or her personal or political agenda at the courtroom door and do justice even-handedly, as the judicial oath requires. This is the most fundamental test. It’s a test Judge Sotomayor does not pass," he explained.

"A number of us are very concerned about an activist court that’s trying to expand what the Constitution intends for the federal government to do," pro-life Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina added.

"She’s been evasive on a number of questions," DeMint said of the nominee. "I met with her privately. I asked her some fairly simple questions about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. She seems more founded in precedent than in upholding the Constitution."

"She had some confirmation conversions," he said, "and she came back to the point of view of a constructionist-type of judge. But she has not been consistent in her comments and seems very evasive with me in the individual meeting that I had with her."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who supports abortion, countered that Sotomayor has "developed a 17-year record as a moderate, mainstream judge."

Last week, the National Right to Life Committee urged senators to oppose Sotomayor.

The group cited her position on the board of directors and as the director of litigation for a pro-abortion Hispanic group that filed several legal briefs with the Supreme Court arguing for unlimited abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.

Despite opposition from a majority of Republican lawmakers and pro-life groups, Sotomayor appears destined for confirmation. Combined with the 60 votes in the Democratic caucus and some Republicans who support her, she will likely receive as many as 65 votes from the Senate.

So far six Republicans have publicly supported Sotomayor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee previously approved Sotomayor’s nomination on a 13-6 vote.

Two weeks ago, leading pro-abortion group NARAL endorsed Sotomayor citing her comments during the confirmation hearings that she supports Roe v. Wade and that Obama promised pro-abortion judges during the presidential election.

Sotomayor has come under opposition from most pro-life groups because of all of the evidence showing she would likely support abortion on the high court.

They also point to her involvement in a pro-abortion group that repeatedly called on the Supreme Court to allow all abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.

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.

Roe v. Wade, handed down in 1973 along with Doe v. Bolton, allowed abortions throughout pregnancy for virtually any reason and has resulted in more than 50 million abortions since then.

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