Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens to Retire This Summer
by Steven Ertelt
April 9, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The press office of the Supreme Court indicated today that pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens will indeed announce his retirement this summer. Stevens had been expected to announce his decision sometime this month about whether he would remain on the court or allow a replacement.
CBS News indicates Justice Stevens sent a letter to President Barack Obama indicating he will step down from his position on the Supreme Court.
He had been a member of the 5-4 pro-abortion majority on the high court that supported Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that allowed 52 million abortions.
Stevens’ decision to step down will likely pave the way for a significant battle over his replacement.
With Democrats controlling 59 votes and expected to lose votes after the November congressional elections, Obama may determine that now is the best time to appoint a polemic pro-abortion replacement.
Although one Democratic senator intimately involved in previous Supreme Court confirmation battles, Arlen Specter, said it would be better for Democrats if Stevens’ retirement came after the elections — saying it would put another bruising political battle ahead of them — conservative writer Byron York argues otherwise.
"Even though Obama will be in office for three more years, there is one particularly pressing reason Democrats would like to see Stevens go now rather than later. That reason is coming up this November," York wrote in a column at the Washington Examiner.
Given the political analysis that Obama and Democrats may go for a more polemic Supreme Court nominee before the elections, the names coming out so far as the leading potential picks include two hardcore abortion advocates, Diane Wood and Elana Kagan.
The problem for the pro-life movement is Kagan and Wood are extreme nominees and pro-life groups would likely strongly oppose their nominations.
LifeNews.com spoke this week with Wendy Wright, the president of Concerned Women for America, who said news stories on Wood frequently "gloss over her radical, anti-Constitutional actions."
Wood, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, ruled against bans on partial-birth abortion in cases involving legislation from Wisconsin and Illinois. She joined the federal court in ruling that Wisconsin’s law was unconstitutional under the Supreme Court’s first ruling on partial-birth abortions in 2000.
"Wood is outspoken in her support of abortion, including partial-birth abortion, as she spelled out in her dissent in the case Hope Clinic vs. Ryan," Wright noted.
"Her views on national sovereignty are troubling, especially as we see pro-abortionists inside and out of the Obama Administration promote abortion as if it were an international right," Wright added. "Not only does Diane Wood believe that Constitutional and human rights do not apply to all human beings, she has refused to extend Constitutional rights to people who defend the class of humans that she discriminates against."
Wright told LifeNews.com she is also troubled by Wood’s ruling in favor of abortion advocates by allowing them to misuse the RICO law designed to control mob activities to sue pro-life protesters.
"In the infamous NOW vs. Scheidler case, Wood sided with abortionists in their attempt to sue pro-lifers under RICO, as if peaceful pro-life protesters are mobsters," Wright said.
Wright says Wood was so far out of line on the case that the Supreme Court overturned her twice.
"The U.S. Supreme Court struck down her decision. When that same case went back down to her court to apply the ruling, Diane Wood refused to do so. In one of the most outrageous acts of judicial activism that has occurred in the history of America, Wood continued the suit against the pro-lifers, as if the Supreme Court hadn’t ruled. The Supreme Court was forced to intervene again to overturn her actions," Wright said.
Kagan, the president’s solicitor general, is an abortion advocate whom pro-life groups have already assailed.
Wright told LifeNews.com that Kagan was Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton and Deputy Assistant to him for domestic policy — which, under Clinton, advocated abortion.
Kagan was credited by the ACLU with shaping Clintons policy on hate crimes," Wright noted.
"The Clinton Administration treated pro-life activists like violent criminals, creating a task force in the Department of Justice and a grand jury to investigate peaceful pro-lifers. This raises serious concerns that she shares the hostile view that religious beliefs are a form of ‘hate,’" she said.
Kagan may be sympathetic to the views of internationalists, those who would impose international norms on Americans, including an unlimited abortion right.
"Abortion groups are actively attempting to create the impression that international norms require countries to provide access to abortion. During Kagans nomination hearing for Solicitor General, Senator Specter questioned her about the use of foreign sources of law in constitutional decision-making," Wright said.
Kagan responded: "At least some members of the Court find foreign law relevant in at least some contexts. When this is the case, I think the Solicitor General’s office should offer reasonable foreign law arguments to attract these Justices’ support for the positions that the office is taking."
The pro-life women’s leader replied: "A Supreme Court justice needs to be absolutely committed to the Constitution, proficient in their knowledge and ability to make rock-solid arguments on the basis of the Constitution and federal laws. If Elena Kagan needs to rely on foreign sources, it is an admission that her arguments are weak or she is incapable of handling the requirements of the office."
Kagan has also come under criticism from Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life women’s group Susan B. Anthony List.
She told LifeNews.com previously, "In the past Kagan has been a strong supporter of the pro-abortion agenda. She has vigorously opposed the de-funding of taxpayer-funded clinics which promote abortions, despite the fact that a majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to fund abortion providers."
The best pro-life advocates can hope for is retaining the current 5-4 pro-abortion majority which, if a pro-life president is elected and can put another conservative jurist on the court, is one vote away from possibly overturning the pro-abortion precedent.
During his State of the Union address, Obama criticized a recent Supreme Court decision that some pro-life attorneys and legal experts say could be used as a basis for overturning the 37-year-old pro-abortion precedent in Roe and Doe.
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