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Passion for Truth [Brian Lamb interview of Arlen Specter]
Booknotes (C-SPAN's author interview series) ^ | January 28, 2001 | Brian Lamb interview of Arlen Specter

Posted on 11/14/2004 5:13:05 PM PST by Catholic and Conservative

Sen. SPECTER: …And I'm very much concerned about what the Supreme Court is doing, and I registered in a collegial conversation they have taken over a tremendous amount of authority, which has a Rehnquist agenda. And we're now facing a situation of Roe vs. Wade where there may be an effort to dismantle Roe vs. Wade, and I discussed with him the question about what questions are appropriate for a senator to ask. There's sort of a--there's sort of...

LAMB: At a confirmation hearing?

Sen. SPECTER: At confirmation hearings. There's sort of a practice, Brian, that you don't ask a senator--you don't ask a nominee a question on a case which is likely to come before the court. And in the book, I talk about Scalia. He wouldn't even answer whether he would support Marbury vs. Madison, which is 1803, supremacy of the court. And I talk about the Rehnquist hearings, which were pretty contentious on this. And I've come to a view that the Senate may have to assert its authority to ask questions. I don't think anybody would--would disagree that we have a right to say to a justice, `Are you going to stand by Brown vs. Board?'

LAMB: At--we just have a short time left. But you did say, though, that because Judge Bork answered all your questions, he probably lost.

Sen. SPECTER: Well, that's true.

LAMB: I mean, did...

Sen. SPECTER: That's--that's true. But, Brian, what I go into in the book is that the nominees answer as many questions as they think they have to to be confirmed. And Judge Bork answered a lot of questions because he had a lot of writings. And if he hadn't answered the questions, he would have been rejected surely.

LAMB: Now you voted for Clarence Thomas, but against Judge Bork?

Sen. SPECTER: That's right.

LAMB: And there was one thing that was a surprise to me. You went back to Tom Coralovis, who I believe worked for the Reagan administration...

Sen. SPECTER: Yeah.

LAMB: ...and was the man who shepherded Judge Bork through the process, and he was very candid with you about what--they weren't very happy with Judge Bork back then.

Sen. SPECTER: Well, Judge Bork, as I write in the book--behind the scenes, they were trying to figure out a way how to get Arlen Specter on board. And Coralovis told me a lot about what happened with Bork and Rehnquist, and he wouldn't participate. And as I write in the book, Judge Bork, a brilliant man and a constitutional law professor, was not prepared. When we went through the cases--and I detail them. For example, Hess vs. Indiana, Bork said it was an obscenity case. It wasn't. It was a speech case.

And by the time he got through talking about his view of original intent, absent original intent, no judicial legitimacy and no judicial review, had he been confirmed--and we had three elderly justices on at the time, Brennan and Blackmun and Marshall. If we'd had three more vacancies and you'd had Bork as a dominant intellectual force, added to Scalia and Rehnquist, they could have turned the Constitution upside down.

LAMB: Can this president, George W. Bush, get somebody through the process up there to get on the Supreme Court in the next four years? Is it possible?

Sen. SPECTER: He can, providing they are not going to dismantle a--a woman's right to choose. If they're going to dismantle a woman's right to choose, I believe the Senate is going to be a lot tougher on asking questions about matters that are going to come before the court.

LAMB: If they won't answer that question if they come before you, would you vote for them?

Sen. SPECTER: Well, I'm seriously considering that. In light of what's happened in the intervening time, I'm supporting Ashcroft, have supported him. But the family planning money overseas is now in jeopardy in a very controversial, contentious issue. And if there's a sense that there's going to be an effort to overturn Roe vs. Wade, and this is something I want to talk to others about, my inclination would be to insist on answers and assurances and to withhold confirmation absent that.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bork; confirmation; lamb; overturn; roevswade; specter; withhold
People have mentioned a 2001 interview of Specter on an unnamed TV show, where Specter said that he might have to start withholding his support from nominees who were reluctant to take clear positions on Roe v. Wade. The show was "booknotes", the actual quote is in the excerpt above, and you can read the whole interview at
1 posted on 11/14/2004 5:13:07 PM PST by Catholic and Conservative
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To: Catholic and Conservative
Good find, CC...

I still cannot believe I live in a state that can be represented in the US Senate by both Rick Santorum and the abortion industry's best friend, Arlen Specter. It just doesn't make sense...

If have'nt already called your Senator, or one of the Judiciary Members...please do. BORK SPECTER!

2 posted on 11/14/2004 5:17:50 PM PST by PennsylvaniaMom (FreeMartha)
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To: Catholic and Conservative

One thing that I sense coming across, even in the short exerpt posted, is how incredibly pompous this guy is.

3 posted on 11/14/2004 5:24:14 PM PST by Bahbah (Proud member of the pajamahadeen)
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To: Bahbah

4 posted on 11/14/2004 5:25:18 PM PST by GeneralHavoc (Stop Specter From Blocking Bush's Judges! Visit!)
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To: Catholic and Conservative
He wouldn't even answer whether he would support Marbury vs. Madison, which is 1803, supremacy usurpation of the court Congress.

Specter is a RINO through and through, and can't be trusted to uphold Conservative values. There's no way he should be trusted to head the Judiciary Committee.

5 posted on 11/14/2004 5:45:44 PM PST by Noachian (A Democrat, by definition, is a Socialist.)
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To: PennsylvaniaMom

You give the voters of PA WAY too much credit, Specter's voters in particular and by that I mean the unions who back him and the dimwit Dems who vote like they are told to do.

6 posted on 11/14/2004 5:49:40 PM PST by penowa
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To: Catholic and Conservative

Calling all Freepers. Tomorrow is Monday and Specter is supposed to be interviewed this week by his fellow GOP members re the Judiciary Chair. Hit the phones tomorrow and let's Bork the Specter. I know I will be on the phones until I get through and talk to someone in each GOP Judiciary Committee member's office. I made the circuit twice this past week.

7 posted on 11/14/2004 6:03:37 PM PST by izzatzo
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To: Catholic and Conservative
The best test of how someone will perform in whatever duty they do:

Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior

Specter is nuclear

8 posted on 11/14/2004 6:15:17 PM PST by Popman (Democrat Party Political Values are Condescension, Hypocrisy, Bigotry)
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To: Catholic and Conservative


9 posted on 11/14/2004 6:30:18 PM PST by demkicker (I'm Ra th er sick of Dan)
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To: Catholic and Conservative
Regarding Specter's assertion that Bork mistakenly asserted that "Hess v. Indiana" was an obscenity case, I quote the following:

Hess vs. Indiana, 414 U.S 105 (1073) where the accused was arrested during a antiwar demonstration on campus for shouting a lewd and distasteful comment. from source

Sounds to me that this could fall under obscenity and/or free speech depending upon your perspective.
10 posted on 11/14/2004 6:35:17 PM PST by sittnick (There's no salvation in politics.)
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To: Catholic and Conservative

I can't figure out for the life of me why Bush campaigned for Specter. Not only is Specter a pro-abortion fanatic, he is against tort reform, tax reform, Social Security reform, and just about everything Bush wants.

11 posted on 11/14/2004 7:01:37 PM PST by Holden Magroin
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To: PennsylvaniaMom; demkicker

Thanks. How do you forward info to "congressional email lists"? I am not on any, and would not know where to find one. I would like to share this with anyone who will find it useful before the senators return this week.

12 posted on 11/15/2004 1:57:04 PM PST by Catholic and Conservative
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