Senate to Vote on Pro-Abortion Obama Pick David Hamilton if Filibuster Stopped

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 16, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Senate to Vote on Pro-Abortion Obama Pick Hamilton Tuesday if Filibuster Stopped

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 16
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Senate will hold a vote Tuesday on the nomination of pro-abortion federal judge David Hamilton to become an appeals court judge. But that won’t happen if pro-life Sen. Jeff Sessions is successful in his filibuster of President Barack Obama’s first judicial pick.

Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, will try to block the vote as a means of reminding Democrats they were wrong to block so many of President Bush’s nominees.

“I think I will support not going forward,” Sessions told reporters.

He said today that, normally, senators do not filibuster judicial nominees but he said the “rule has changed” and pointed to how Democrats manipulated Senate rules to prevent votes on several of Bush’s judges.

Hamilton has come under fire for turning back an informed consent law that would help women know the dangers of and alternatives to an abortion.

“I believe strongly that a judge takes that oath to be impartial to serve under the constitution and activism, as I define the phrase, is when a judge allows their personal view to override their commitment to the law,” Sessions said.

Hamilton’s pro-abortion position presents an "extraordinary" circumstance, he said.

“If they have a record that shows their discourse, I think they can move forward pretty well,” Sessions said. But “I don’t think I can vote for a nominee that I believe thinks has the right to amend the Constitution.”

To overcome a filibuster, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Hamilton backers will need 60 votes and the battle to get them will be close.

On one side, pro-life Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson has said he will oppose Hamilton over abortion (though whether he will support a filibuster is unclear). On the other side, nominally pro-life Sen. Dick Lugar has said he will back Hamilton.

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

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, to which Hamilton has been nominated, handles cases involving pro-life issues from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Hamilton issued a series of rulings over seven years that prevented Indiana from implementing its informed consent law. He 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."

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 and support for the filibuster. You can find contact information for any senator at

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