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Supreme Court Nominations

There has been a serious amount of speculation yesterday and today regarding impending announcements concerning the retirement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist.  The Chief Justice performed admirably and heroically in rendering the oath of office to the President last week in Washington, DC.  Those who follow the Court closely noted that the Chief Justice left shortly after the administration of the oath and did not stay for the Presidential Inaugural Speech.  While I dont want to read much speculation into this, I think we have to be prepared for a vacancy at the Supreme Court.

 

I have assembled a senior research team at the American Center for Law and Justice over the last couple of years who has been delving into judicial backgrounds of potential candidates and nominees.  The Presidents nominations to the courts of appeals have been excellent.  I believe that his nomination to the Supreme Court will be excellent as well.  The critical issues coming up before the Court, including the partial-birth abortion case and other church-state matters, are always closely divided.  A change of even one Justice can have a huge impact.  For instance, the partial-birth abortion case decided in 2001 was a 5-4 decision.  If just one vote had shifted, we would have carried the day and the ban on partial-birth abortion would be in place and in effect.  Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and the Chief Justice wrote strong dissents in that case. 

 

One of the areas that I am most concerned about regarding the judicial confirmation process is this view that pro-life judges are out of the mainstream.  This is not only factually inaccurate but legally indefensible.  To say that a judge who has respect for human life and believes, for instance, that a ban on partial-birth abortion to be constitutional is out of the mainstream is a ridiculous statement.  We need to insist that Christian judges who are pro-life not be disqualified from serving at the highest court of the land.

 

I want to encourage you to keep viewing our website and, specifically, our judicial filibuster section.  We have worked aggressively to change the rules back to the constitutional format of up-or-down votes of a simple majority.  The fact is that right now, the stonewalling of a minority of Senators is thwarting the confirmation process.  This needs to change.  Senator Frist has indicated that he is in favor of making this change, and our Office of Governmental Affairs in Washington is working aggressively on this. 

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