On a party-line vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Attorney General nominee Bill Barr.
All 10 committee Democrats voted to oppose Barr’s nomination from advancing, while all 12 Republicans voted in support of President Donald Trump’s pick to succeed Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.
The full Senate must now vote on Barr’s nomination and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said, “I hope and expect he will be confirmed next week.”
During his Senate confirmation hearings, abortion activists were disappointed when Barr would not commit to defending Roe v Wade in court.
The potential battle over the monumental Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions is expected to take place as states are emboldened by the addition of Justice brett Kavanaugh on the high court. There’s the potential that Kavanaugh’s addition could tilt the court in a decidedly pro-life fashion that would move the court away from Roe and towards a pro-life direction allowing states to potentially band some or all abortions.
Abortion advocates can’t have that and don’t support any limits on abortion and so they are strenuously opposing Bill Barr’s nomination. The Planned Parenthood abortion business has undertaken a full court press in opposition to Barrs’ nomination.
Asked about the potential for the Department of Justice to defend Roe v. Wade from legal challenge, Barr refused to say he would do so.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also asked Barr during his confirmation hearing Tuesday if he believes that Roe should be overturned. In late 1991, Barr said, “I believe Roe v. Wade should be overruled.”
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Barr would not go back on his previous comments but said the Justice Department has not pushed for that recently.
“Would you defend Roe v. Wade if it were challenged?” Blumenthal asked.
Again, Barr refused to do so, and said most challenges to Roe would come from states and that the Justice Department would weigh in where appropriate.
“I would hope that the [solicitor general] would make whatever arguments are necessary to address that,” he said.
After the exchange, Planned Parenthood complained on Twitter, “Barr doesn’t answer the question on whether he’d defend Roe. Not surprising when in 1991, he said “Roe v. Wade should be overruled.”
In another tweet it added: “Barr said in 1991 that “Roe v. Wade should be overruled.” His answer today was no better.”