Senate May Vote This Week on Pro-Abortion Obama Federal Judge David Hamilton

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate May Vote This Week on Pro-Abortion Obama Federal Judge David Hamilton

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 3
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — While its work on a pro-abortion health care bill drags on and on, the Senate may vote this week on President Barack Obama’s first judicial pick. Senate Democrats may open the debate on the nomination of pro-abortion federal judge David Hamilton for a spot on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Anticipating a vote, pro-life Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter on Friday to fellow lawmakers about his opposition to Hamilton.

He said he opposed Hamilton’s belief that judges should effectively amend the Constitution – "writing footnotes to the Constitution," as Hamilton calls it — through evolving case law.

In June, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to approve Hamilton with Democrats voting yes and Republicans no.

The appeals court handles cases involving pro-life issues from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, which is important because Hamilton has upset pro-life advocates with his pro-abortion decisions.

That includes a series of rulings over seven years that prevented Indiana from implementing its informed consent law that would give women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.

In the full Senate, Hamilton is expected to get enough votes for his nomination to be approved, but he may have to overcome a filibuster by pro-life Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, and others. Also, Sessions has said in the past that he may support a filibuster.

Hamilton has the backing of Indiana’s Republican senator, Dick Lugar, and will get the support of a handful of pro-abortion Republicans. The only Democrats likely to oppose Hamilton would be pro-life Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who sometimes votes pro-life.

Hamilton found his decision against the Indiana informed consent law overturned by the appeals court where he may serve.
In fact, the 7th Circuit Court issued a statement chiding him for holding up the law.

"For seven years Indiana has been prevented from enforcing a statute materially identical to a law held valid by the Supreme Court in Casey, by this court in Karlin, and by the fifth circuit in Barnes," the appeals judges wrote in their decision.

"No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana [i.e., Hamilton]) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey," they added. "[I]t is an abuse of discretion for a district judge to issue a pre-enforcement injunction while the effects of the law (and reasons for those effects) are open to debate."

Although President Obama claims to want to reduce abortions, his appellate court pick prevented a law from going into effect that has been proven to reduce abortions when put in place in other states.

A coalition of pro-life groups sent a letter to members of the Senate urging them to oppose the nomination.

The letter, signed by leaders with Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel and Focus on the Family Action, cites the decision as a reason to oppose Hamilton.

"Hamilton issued a series of rulings over seven years that prevented the state of Indiana from enforcing its informed-consent law requiring abortionists to inform women about the risks of the abortion procedure," the groups say.

"The law was identical to the Pennsylvania statute that the United States Supreme Court upheld in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. Judge Hamilton, however, seems to have little concern for the law or precedent, and in a classic case of judicial activism, struck down the law, claiming it imposed an ‘undue burden’ on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion," they add.

Prior to becoming a federal judge, Hamilton was the vice president for litigation and a board member of the Indiana branch of the ACLU, a top pro-abortion law firm.

Hamilton was initially appointed by President Clinton to a district judgeship in Indiana in 1994 even though the ABA gave him a “not qualified” rating.

ACTION: Contact your members of the Senate and express your opposition to Hamilton’s nomination. You can find contact information for any senator at

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