04 November, 2004

Specter warns Bush on high court nominations

Specter warns Bush on high court nominations

Associated Press


"The Republican expected to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee next year bluntly warned newly re-elected President Bush today against putting forth Supreme Court nominees who would seek to overturn abortion rights or are otherwise too conservative to win confirmation.

Sen. Arlen Specter, fresh from winning a fifth term in Pennsylvania, also said the current Supreme Court now lacks legal "giants" on the bench.

"When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is unlikely," Specter said, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

"The president is well aware of what happened, when a bunch of his nominees were sent up, with the filibuster," Specter added, referring to Senate Democrats' success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of many of Bush's conservative judicial picks. "... And I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning."

With at least three Supreme Court justices rumored to be eyeing retirement, including ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Specter, 74, would have broad authority to reshape the nation's highest court. He would have wide latitude to schedule hearings, call for votes and make the process as easy or as hard as he wants.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., expressed confidence Wednesday that Bush will have more success his second term in winning the confirmation of his judicial nominees.

"I'm very confident that now we've gone from 51 seats to 55 seats, we will be able to overturn this what has become customary filibuster of judicial nominees," Frist said in Orlando, Fla."

Oh, and his last words in the article:
"A former district attorney, Specter also bemoaned what he called the lack of any current justices comparable to legal heavyweights like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, Benjamin Cardozo and Thurgood Marshall, "who were giants of the Supreme Court."

"With all due respect to the (current) U.S. Supreme Court, we don't have one," he said.

Though he refused to describe the political leanings of the high court, Specter said he "would characterize myself as moderate; I'm in the political swim. I would look for justices who would interpret the Constitution, as Cardozo has said, reflecting the values of the people."
Hmm, that certainly is a real "Thank You" to GWB and also the NRA.

Gee, I say we thank them too...


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