The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm William Barr as attorney general, 54-45, on a near party-line vote. All Republicans except for Rand Paul of Kentucky voted for Barr along with Democrats Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Those three hail from conservative states.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Barr’s confirmation was a “victory for the rule of law.”
A major victory for justice and the rule of law in America: the Senate just confirmed President @realDonaldTrump’s outstanding nominee William Barr as Attorney General
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) February 14, 2019
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.”