Skip to comments.Specter warns Bush on high court nominations
Posted on 11/04/2004 3:56:03 AM PST by joesbucks
PHILADELPHIA -- 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.
Legal scholar Dennis Hutchinson said Specter's message to the White House appears to be "a way of asserting his authority" as he prepares to chair the Judiciary Committee when Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is term-limited from keeping the post next year.
"What he may be trying to do is say, 'Don't just think that I'm going to process what you send through. I have standards, I'm going to take an independent look, you have to deal with me,'" said Hutchinson, a law professor at the University of Chicago.
When asked Wednesday about Specter's impending chairmanship, another Republican on the panel, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, did not offer a ringing endorsement.
"We'll have to see where he stands," said Cornyn, a close friend of Bush who worked to get all of the president's nominees through the Senate. "I'm hoping that he will stand behind the president's nominees. I'm intending to sit down and discuss with him how things are going to work. We want to know what he's going do and how things are going to work."
While Specter is a loyal Republican -- Bush endorsed him in a tight Pennsylvania GOP primary -- he routinely crosses party lines to pass legislation and counts a Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, as one of his closest friends.
A self-proclaimed moderate, he helped kill President Reagan's nomination of Robert Bork to the Supreme Court and of Jeff Sessions to a federal judgeship. Specter called both nominees too extreme on civil rights issues. Sessions later became a Republican senator from Alabama and now sits on the Judiciary Committee with Specter.
Despite a bruising challenge from conservatives this year in Pennsylvania's GOP primary, Specter won re-election Tuesday by an 11-point margin by appealing to moderate Republicans and ticket-splitting Democrats, even as Pennsylvania chose Democrat John Kerry over Bush.
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
Well, we will see just who has the last word on this. The country has been mobilized, the base will NOT stand for this. Specter has started the battle; we will finish it.
Frist can take care of this.
time will tell.
For starters, can we please get this fool off of the Judiciary Committee?
This is the thanks W gets for backing Specter. I blame the W people as much as Specter. W should have stood on principle and supported Toomey. I sincerely wish Specter would have lost. I understand that conservative Jon Kyl would now be the Judiciary Chairman.
Yes. Get this faux Republican out of there.
I'm glad this jerk is getting everyone's attention. Let's roll.
Sen. Specter, thanks for the advice. We will give it all due consideration. P.S. Remember who you owe for your reelection and get back in line.
This moron leftist will steal our victory. WE MUST GET THE LIBERALS OFF THE BENCH TO GET OUR COUNTRY BACK!!!
Whereas, liberal Senator Arlen Specter is in line to be Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Whereas, liberal Arlen Specter has a stated litmus test against pro-abortion judges.
Whereas, liberal Arlen Specter has stated he will fight against conservative judges
Whereas, in the past liberal Arlen Specter has helped defeat great judges like Robert Bork,
Whereas, the Democrats have loaded the Judiciary Committee with extreme liberals such as Kennedy, Feinstein, Leahy, and Schumer.
Whereas, liberal Arlen Specter is in a position to turn our huge and historic election victory into a defeat by killing the nomination of all decent judges,
Be it resolved, that we will do whatever it takes to get liberal Arlen Specter off the Judiciary Committee
Bush helped this back-stabbing liberal to win re-election. There is no way we can let the SOB to stay on the Judiciary committee, let along become Chairman.
If Republicans let Sen. Arlen Specter chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, we will all have something to deeply regret a couple of years from now....
That's right lets stop him from getting the seat and just let him do domething more important like clean the halls.
All we need is a Spanish Judge and Demorats can't attack. If they do, they will risk another 10% of their base. Either way we win.
Specter warns....how about someone warning Specter about his chairmanship...kick him off the committee...
Absolutely, see post 11. Contact Frist. Contact Bush. Contact your local Senator. Spread the word.
LOL. Specter's getting too big for his frilly britches...
What's up with some Republican legislators?
If people want to have abortion rights, let them pass a law or amendment for it. In the meantime, overturn Roe vs. Wade, and have the legislature craft a law that is acceptable to the majority of Americans regarding abortion. If it can't pass, it ain't the will of the people.
Duh? Political Science 101.
Sorry, but Specter will have veto power as the new Chairman of the Judiciary. See post 11. Become active on this issue. Only the Senate leadership can stop this from happening.
I hope Frist can put this guy in his place. Bush needs to squeeze Specter, he has never been on board and this is too important.
Who would be a good chairman? Hatch?
To those who fought me back in April.
I told you this exact same scenario.
Would you rather have Pres Bush with 55 senators and Spector heading judiciary, or Pres Bush with 54 senators and Jon Kyl heading judiciary.
Most of you picked choice A, and bashed the hell out of me for it.
You got your wish.
PLEASE, GROUP, CONTINUE PRAYING ABOUT THIS MAN.
I believe he's a firece puppet master stoolie stabbing at the heart of the nation and the GOP and certainly at the heart of our beloved President.
Given the system, the only one I believe who can deal decisively and effectively with him is GOD ALMIGHTY.
I believe the man will be untold trouble unless and until God neutralizes him. Prayer alone can influence that, imho.
WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE PUT TOGETHER AN EMAIL LIST OF CURRENT ALL REPUBLICAN SENATORS. POST THIS MANY TIMES IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. INCLUDING THE NEW ONES ELECTED.
FREEPERS CALL TO ACTION: YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU MORE NOW THAN EVER!!
WE NEED TO START THE GET ALAN SPECTOR OF THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CAMPAIGN RIGHT NOW!!!
Specter is such a fool, as evidenced by him allowing the unicorn killer to be released on bail. I hope that one day specter, the POS will be replaced by a more intelligent primate ;(monkey). We did this one for the,"Gipper" as well.
Shudup.....Spector is such a wimp..... Do you think Spec will ever be invited to the White House? If so, service entrance please......
Remember who you owe for your reelection and get back in line.<<---...No, the answer is..get into the Dem party where u belong!!...We have others to take your place
Spector was running Michael J Fox/Stem cell commercials in Spector's name.
See post 11. Contact Sen. Frist. Don't allow the back-stabbing liberal to become Chairman of the Judiciary. Specter is in line for that job as it stands.
Get Specter out as Chairman of the Committee before he even begins his tenure. Bush campaigned for this backstabber against a very good man, Pat Toomey. When it came time for Specter to reciprocate during the general election (Kerry only won PA by 51-49), Specter just couldn't appear in public with Bush-Cheney.
Hatch?! Only if we can get his FBI file back from Hilliary :)
Ann Coulter For Supreme Court
so...sounds to me we start pressuring Frist about who really will be the next Chair of the Judiciary committee....
The struggle continues. It's great to celebrate the victory, for a minute or two, then get back to work and make sure that Senators like Spector and Chaffee never rise to positions of real power. Let the Republican leadership understand in the clearest terms why they are in Washington and who put them there.
Compromise for liberals--as George H. W. Bush learned--is just one step toward total victory. They're down, now kick!
Absolutely. Specter will be a huge thorn in our side. Much bigger obsticle than Sen. Kennedy and Sen. CLinton. This would be a disaster if Specter gets the committee chairmanship.
...kick him off the committee...<<--..YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
Bush and Rove's biggest mistake, backing this ahole in the hopes he could help capture PA...I cannot stand this RINO POS.
What he said.
Sorry... I mean't Sphincter
Please help me--what can I do to get him off the Judiciary Committee???
At this point, I vote for "C"- 55 Senators and someone besides Specter or Hatch chairing Judiciary.
Specter has not kept his part of the bargain.
Time to replace him with someone who will.
Hindsight is 20-20. Now that it was shown to be a complete waste of time, we need to do everything possible to limit the damage and get this back-stabbing liberal off the Senate Judiciary committee.
Specter, the wolf in sheep's clothing.
The man spends his earlier years defending a famous murderer and then becomes a senator. No respect for this guy from the get go.
He can threaten all he wants. He's not the only guy on the hill.
Bingo. But I am wondering just where W stands on this, really. Lip Service is one thing, but campaigning for Specter says much more, much louder. It's not as if this is a surprise to anyone.