Senate Committee Skips Vote on Pro-Abortion Judge Steve Six

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2011   |   3:11PM   |   Washington, DC

The Senate Judiciary Committee today skipped a vote on pro-abortion federal appeals court judicial nominee Steve Six, an abortion advocate President Barack Obama wants to place on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The chairman of the committee, pro-abortion Sen, Pat Leahy of Vermont, had intended to bring up Six for a vote, but some last-minute wrangling from Six home state senators, pro-life Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, appeared to stall the nomination. Although President Barack Obama would have to withdraw the nomination for it to be officially scrubbed, it appears the repeated planning and reversal of votes on Six is an indication that Six’s nomination is not going forward.

Roberts and Moran sent Leahy a letter that, according to an AP report, is only coming to light today. The two have faced calls and emails from pro-life groups asking them to oppose Six because he stalled an investigation into the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

“Whereas we have previously stated our opposition to this nomination, we are respectfully requesting that the Committee not process this nominee,” the Kansas senators wrote. “We appreciate and respect the committee process in vetting all federal court nominees. We regret that we cannot support Mr. Six.”

Leahy, upset by the actions of the Republicans, released a heated statement today in response. Roberts initially approved of Six and Moran was hesitant to express a position and Leahy blasted them for both opposing the abortion advocate after not expressing opposition when the White House contacted them at the time of the nomination.

“This type of reversal of position by a home state Senator on a nomination has rarely occurred,” Leahy wrote Roberts, according to AP. “As I have expressed to Senator (Charles) Grassley, the Committee’s ranking member, in my view no new material information emerged during the course of our review of the nomination, his testimony at his confirmation hearing, or in his answers to multiple rounds of written follow up questions, and certainly none that was disqualifying.”

Officials with Kansans for Life expressed their delight with the news that Six would not receive a vote. The organization has been working overtime to lobby Roberts, Moran, members of the committee and other senators to oppose Six’s nomination.

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization also based in Kansas, also said he was pleased.

“Six repeatedly allowed his personal and political biases to influence his professional judgment, and that alone makes him unfit for the Federal Appeals Court,” he told LifeNews. “Today we are celebrating this victory for the cause of justice.”

“We want to thank everyone from around the nation that called and wrote their Senator in opposition to the Six nomination,” said Newman. “This victory truly belongs to the grassroots who rose up to make their voices heard. It made all the difference.”

Until the nomination is officially withdrawn, there is still a chance Six’s nomination from Obama could eventually come up again for a vote. Obama would have to formally withdraw the nomination for it to be completely avoided.

Before today’s scheduled vote, James A. Christophersen, the director of the Judicial Action Group, said members of the judiciary panel should vote no on Six’s nomination because the nominee has not been forthcoming in his answers to the committee.

“Despite his lack of candor before the Senate judiciary committee last month, Steve Six, Nominee to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals remains on the calendar for a vote,” he said in an email to LifeNews. “Six’s nomination temporarily stalled in committee due to last month’s public statements of the Kansas Senators, however, this momentary pause will not last without more direct and intentional opposition of Senators Roberts and Moran.”

“Despite steps taken so far, Senator Leahy has still called for a committee vote on Six to take place this Thursday,” he adds. “Contact Senator Roberts and Senator Moran and encourage them to directly ask Senator Leahy to observe Senate traditions and halt Steve Six’s nomination because of their opposition. Both Kansas Senators need support and encouragement to immediately make a formal and direct statement to Senator Leahy, and to strengthen their public statements of opposition.”

Opposition has built to Six as pro-life groups have ratcheted up the campaign against him due to his ties to the abortion industry and his efforts to delay or stop an investigation into potentially illegal late-term abortions at a Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas, where Six was the state attorney general. The abortion business was accused of making up illegitimate reasons for the abortions and doctoring paperwork to justify them.

Six, in his position as the leading attorney in the state, did everything possible to delay the investigation and tried to have the state Supreme Court deny prosecutors access to the patient files and other evidence they needed to prove their case.

Christophersen says Six has not answered questions properly from senators about his involvement in stalling the Planned Parenthood investigations.

During the Senate Judiciary hearing, Senator Grassley asked Mr. Six whether he, as attorney general, sought to: “impede [the] prosecution of Planned Parenthood?” In response, Six misled Senator Grassley by talking about the fact that Judge Anderson “received a subpoena to appear … and testify”[2] thus attempting to lead Senator Grassley to the errant conclusion that Six was in favor of such testimony.

“However, Six attempted to mislead the committee, by failing to reveal the information that was most responsive and necessary to properly answer and inform Senator Grassley, i.e., the fact that Six actively sought to prevent Judge Anderson from testifying,” Christophersen says. “In short, Six did more than merely plan word games with Senator Grassley.  Six portrayed himself as passive and reactive when in fact he was aggressive and proactive in interfering in the Planned Parenthood investigation; at one point actually suing a sitting Judge to try to force the Judge to return the evidence of Planned Parenthood’s criminality to Planned Parenthood during the criminal case against Planned Parenthood.”

“As Attorney General of Kansas, Steve Six took the extraordinary step of closing down a major criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood, without so much as ever reading the criminal statute at issue,” he added.

At Six’s hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley asked Six about his familiarity with the Kansas Late-Term Abortion Law that was the subject of the investigations.  Six replied:  “When I was Attorney General I did not evaluate that issue … I have not read the Kansas Statute.  I simply haven’t studied it Senator.”

Kansans for Life which has been leading opposition to Six, has again urged votes against him.

“We were appropriately pleased when our two Kansas U.S. Senators (Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran) previously announced their opposition to the nomination of Kansan Steve Six to the U.S. Court of Appeals (one level below the U.S. Supreme Court),” KFL said today. “And we were thrilled the next day when Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy postponed the committee vote. At that time, the White House even called Sen. Moran’s office very upset about his decision to oppose Six.  Senator Moran stood his ground and said his opposition is “firm.”

The pro-life group said Republican lawmakers need to “stand strong” against Six’s nomination.

Roberts’ statement said he came to the decision “after thoroughly reviewing” Six’s record and testimony to the committee. Moran’s nearly identical statement mentioned Six’s “qualifications” and testimony. A later statement from Roberts pointed to “several areas where his answers were not forthcoming or where issues of his judgment in handling cases as attorney general were called into serious question.”

Frequently, opposition from home state lawmakers is enough to sink a nomination and such nominees eventually withdraw, have their nomination pulled by the presidential administration or find themselves the subject of a filibuster.

ACTION: Contact members of the Senate at to urge opposition to Six’s nomination.