Democrats Plan Vote on Pro-Abortion Elena Kagan Next Week, May Limit Debate
by Steven Ertelt
July 30, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Senate Democrats plan a vote next week on the nomination of abortion advocate Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. They also plan to severely limit the amount of debate and discussion about Kagan’s nomination on the Senate floor, which is prompting an outcry from Republicans.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and his top allies plan to open the debate on the Kagan nomination late Tuesday or Wednesday and will bring the debate to a close with a vote at the end of Thursday.
The short debate time compared with past nominees is seen by political observers as payback for Republicans blocking the DISCLOSE Act, a restrictive campaign finance bill pro-life groups opposed because it would place restrictions on their ability to discuss legislative and political issues and potentially expose their donors.
The move is also seen as a way to close up shop earlier than expected so endangered pro-abortion Democratic senators can get on the campaign trail and defend their seats in what is shaping up to be an election that will see a pro-life landslide.
Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl, a pro-life Arizona senator, told The Hill the compacted debate time is not appropriate for a Supreme Court nominee.
Its not a good idea, he said. [Chief Justice John] Roberts and [Justice Samuel] Alito took four and five days on the floor, and Sotomayor was three. Its pretty hard to do a nominee in less than three full days if everyone is going to have a right to speak. I don’t know how you shut senators up and say they don’t have a right to speak. That would not be a good thing."
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, also told the Capitol Hill newspaper that Kagan’s confirmation hearings involved complex issues. They included her defending her lobbying of two medical organizations and making it so they issued different opinions on partial-birth abortions that ultimately persuaded the Supreme Court to overturn state bands on the second-term abortion procedure.
I would hope that Reid wouldn’t do that, Sessions said of the strict limits on debate.
It just compresses things and creates irritability, and it may be an attempt to compact the nomination so the American people aren’t as able to be attuned to whats occurring. The nominee isn’t particularly popular with the American people. So maybe they want to force it through. Its not good," he said.
Although a filibuster is not seen as likely because pro-life Republicans don’t have the numbers to block the vote from Democrats and defecting GOP lawmakers like Dick Lugar and Lindsey Graham, Sessions told The Hill he thinks it could happen if Democrats too severely limit the time for debate.
I don’t think our members have any desire to filibuster, and I don’t sense thats about to occur, he said. But if the process works out in a way that our leadership doesn’t feel is legitimate, it may be that some parliamentary tactics would be utilized.
During the committee hearings, pro-life groups say Kagan was not forthright when she downplayed the extent to which she lobbied two medical organizations to change their opinion on when partial-birth abortions are medically necessary.
Kagan’s lobbying resulted in the Supreme Court, in a case striking down state partial-birth abortion bans, eventually relying on the opinion of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that, after Kagan’s prodding, changed its opinion to say some abortions may be medically indicated.
Yet, during the confirmation hearings, Kagan dismissed questions about memos she wrote during the Clinton administration, saying "My only dealings with ACOG were about talking with them about how to ensure that their statement expressed their views."
A coalition of pro-life groups has issued a letter to senators asking for a thorough investigation of Kagan and calling for a probe into her comments about partial-birth abortion.
A nominee to the highest court in the land must meet our nations absolute highest standards of integrity and impartiality, said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life Action and the main sponsor of the letter.
With serious outstanding questions clouding Ms. Kagans nomination, we are leading a united effort to ask that the Senate investigate discrepancies between her Senate testimony and the written record on partial-birth abortion before proceeding to a floor vote," she told LifeNews.com today.
Kagan claimed in her hearing "there was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG …. to get it to change its medical views on the question." Instead, she claimed she was trying to get ACOG to issue a statement that "accurately reflected the views" the organization had reportedly already expressed.
But the coalition letter says that conflicts with the account Kagan provided Clinton officials in a letter about her June 1996 meeting with ACOG.
Kagan wrote that the meeting was "something of a revelation" because ACOG officials informed her that, in the "vast majority of cases, selection of the partial-birth abortion procedure is not necessary to avert serious adverse consequences to a woman’s health."
By December, Kagan wrote a memo saying that if ACOG didn’t change its position it would be a "disaster" for Clinton, who went on to veto the partial-birth abortion ban claiming it was needed to protect women’s health.
She drafted a statement ACOG eventually adopted saying partial-birth abortions "may be the best or most appropriate in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman." That was the statement the Supreme Court eventually relied on to overturn state bans on the abortion procedure.
Kagan also sought to influence the American Medical Association and get the AMA to revise its opinion that partial-birth abortions provide no medical benefit for women.
Earlier this month, AUL released a 54-page report examining Kagans role in manipulating the medical statements of the two groups.
Later, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued an open letter to the Senate calling for Kagans nomination to be rejected and pointing to the AUL Action report as a resource on this critical issue.
Pro-life groups have described Elena Kagan as the stereotypical judicial activist and abortion advocate.
She clerked for pro-abortion Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom she lauded, and her writings dating back to her college days are filled with accolades for judges who took the law into their hands and twisted it for a desired outcome rather than relying on the people through their elected officials.
Kagan helped Bill Clinton defend his veto of a partial-birth abortion ban — the gruesome abortion procedure when a baby is birthed halfway and then jabbed in the head with medical scissors, killing him or her. She helped Clinton find political cover for his decision to keep those abortions legal.
Kagan went as far as advocating that the Clinton administration not only ignore but manipulate the opinion of a national medical group that said there was never any medical justification for killing unborn children halfway out of the birth canal.
ACTION: Contact your senators here and urge a no vote on Kagan’s nomination and tell them to filibuster her.
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.