Kagan, Garland, Sears Seen by Pro-Lifer as Most Likely Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Picks
by Steven Ertelt
April 13, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When President Barack Obama names a successor to retiring pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens, a respected pro-life leader says he thinks the nominee will be one of three pro-abortion judicial candidates. Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council predicts Elena Kagan, Merrick Garland or Lee Ward Sears will get the nod.
Stevens announced on Friday that he will retire from his seat this summer, opening one of the high court seats vacated by a member of the 5-4 pro-abortion majority.
Obama has said he will select a nominee within weeks to replace Stevens. While several names has surfaced, McClusky, he Senior Vice President of Family Research Council and FRC Action, has a set of predictions he released today.
First on the list, given the best odds for becoming the nominee, is Elena Kagan.
As LifeNews.com has profiled, the Solicitor General in the Obama administration has already sparked strong opposition from Senate Republicans.
Kagan was the dean of Harvard Law school and has spent most of her career in academia and government — in part as a legal counsel in the administration of pro-abortion President Bill Clinton –and prior to becoming the attorney for the Obama administration before the Supreme Court.
"Kagan currently serves as Solicitor General of the United States and while her confirmation garnered very few Republican votes she does have some conservative supporters," McClucksy, who gives her 2-1 odds of becoming the nominee, says.
"Prior to her nomination, she has had zero experience in litigating cases before the Supreme Court," he adds, but that problem appears to have been solved given her current position as the attorney for Obama who appears before the high court.
Kagan gives Obama the opportunity to appoint a pro-abortion woman to the court — placating groups like Planned Parenthood, NOW and NARAL and making it tougher for Republicans to oppose the nomination because the Supreme Court is down to two women and pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen as the next in line to retire.
McClusky puts DC Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland in second place.
"Ill admit I know little about the judge, and there is little controversial written about him," McClusky says. "Even judicial expert Ed Whelan says Mr. Garland is not as bad as other names being bandied about (though Ed makes it clear he doesnt see Judge Garland as his kind of justice.)"
That inability to peg Garland down on abortion and other controversial political issues could prompts political observers who think Obama will go for a safe pick who is regarded as noncontroversial and knowledgeable about the law in order to avoid a lengthy confirmation battle before a November election with an electorate upset by his signing pro-abortion health care into law.
McClusky gives Garland a 5-1 odds and the third place contender, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears a 10-1 odds.
Sears, he notes, would give Obama the distinction of appointing the first black woman Supreme Court Justice — "an important distinction for a nation that puts so much stock into identity politics."
"She has ties to the conservative world, including a fellowship at the Institute for American Values and a friendship with Clarence Thomas," which would diffuse her from some conservative criticism.
However, Sears would receive opposition from pro-life groups because she is a member of the left-leaning American Constitution Society.
Americans United for Life highlighted Sears when she made the short list of potential Supreme Court appointments last year, though Obama ultimately went with pro-abortion Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Justice Sears has not issued any known decision on life-related issues, but AUL indicates "Sears has evidenced a broad conception of substantive constitutional privacy — the very basis upon which Roe v. Wade is predicated."
Sears has "referred to the responsibility of courts to protect constitutional rights against ‘morals legislation’ the majority," AUL notes, which concerns it regarding abortion issues.
The best pro-life advocates can hope for is retaining the current 5-4 pro-abortion majority with any nominee Obama puts forward likely keeping that split in place by having the same pro-abortion position as Justice Stevens.
As LifeNews.com reported,Stevens is stepping down this summer and a battle over the replacement is expected to get a new justice in place by the time the court begins its October session.
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.