SCOTUS Round-Up

I’m going to start posting quick round-ups of what the Right is saying about the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy here on a regular basis – possibly daily, depending on what is available.  

Politico reports that Sen. John Ensign is refusing to say whether Senate Republicans would attempt to filibuster President Obama's nominee, while Mitt Romney says the GOP needs to be prepared to “stand up and scream long and hard” if they get someone they don’t like.

In an editorial, the National Review says that “the proper course for Republicans — inside and outside the Senate — is to build a case for saying no” to pretty much whomever Obama nominates while Matthew Franck says nobody should be fooled by assertions that Obama will nominate a “pragmatist”

LifeNews reports that anti-choice groups are gearing up for battle:

Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, promised her group would help lead the charge against any pro-abortion activist Obama may name to the high court.

“We will work to oppose any nominee for the Supreme Court who will read the Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution in order to elevate abortion to a fundamental right on the same plane as the freedom of speech," she told LifeNews.com.

Yoest said the jurist Obama names to the Supreme Court will tell the American public whether he is serious about reducing abortions or keeping it an unlimited "right" that has yielded over 50 million abortions since 1973.

“This nomination represents a test for a President who has expressed a public commitment to reducing abortions while pursuing an aggressive pro-abortion agenda," she said. "Appointing an abortion radical to the Court -- someone who believes social activism trumps the Constitution -- further undermines efforts to reduce abortion."

Jay Sekulow, the president of the American Center for Law and Justice, told LifeNews.com the retirement gives Obama his first chance to shape the court, most notably on abortion.

“The reported retirement of Justice Souter marks the beginning of President Obama’s legal legacy – a legacy that will move this country dramatically to the left,” he says.

“With reports that Justice Souter will step down at the end of the term, President Obama now has a green light to begin reshaping the federal judiciary. Based on the appointments at the Department of Justice, it’s clear that President Obama will name a Supreme Court nominee who will embrace an extremely liberal judicial philosophy," he said.

Sekulow called on Senate Democrats to allow an open process where questions about where the eventual nominee stands on abortion and key pro-life issues are allowed.

"Once a nominee is named and the confirmation process begins, it’s important that the nominee faces full and detailed hearings – with specific focus on the nominee’s judicial philosophy including how the nominee views the constitution and the rule of law," he said.

LifeNews has a related article saying that whomever President Obama chooses, they will certainly be pro-choice, and throws out several possibilities including Elena Kagan, and Marjorie Dannenfelser responds:

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life women's group Susan B. Anthony List, told LifeNews.com her organization urged pro-life advocates to ask their members of the Senate to vote no on Kagan, who has a longstanding pro-abortion position.

"In the past Kagan has been a strong supporter of the pro-abortion agenda," Dannenfelser explains. "She has vigorously opposed the de-funding of taxpayer-funded clinics which promote abortions, despite the fact that a majority of Americans do not want their tax dollars to fund abortion providers."

Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice also comments to OneNewsNow on what to look for: 

Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, says Souter will not be missed. But the justice's replacement, he cautions, may be even more liberal, based on what President Obama has said he is looking for in judges.
 
"[President Obama] has said that he's looking for a judicial activist," says Levey. "He didn't use that actual word. He said he's looking for a judge who shows empathy by favoring certain groups -- pregnant women, minorities, so on, and so forth. That is the definition of judicial activism -- outcome-oriented judging."

The ONN article notes that “current Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Kathleen Sullivan -- are open lesbians,” which is a point also noted by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins

A nod from Obama for former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan could trigger a similar fight. Sullivan has openly acknowledged that she is a lesbian, a fact that would make history on the court and surely draw extra attention to her advocacy for gay rights.

“I think that would be a bridge too far for him, to be honest, because that would enter a whole new element into the debate that I don’t think he’s ready for,” said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

CQ notes that a Supreme Court battle has traditionally led to good fundraising for conservative groups:

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition, said that “at a minimum” Obama’s first Supreme Court nomination will provide a “very good teachable moment” for voters about their new president.

Lafferty says that some voters who backed Obama will be turned off by his choice of a Supreme Court nominee.

“This is about mobilizing people and educating people. This isn’t about filling coffers,” she said.

But she also acknowledged that mobilization efforts and advertising cost money, and that Supreme Court picks fuel the apparatus: “It does kick it into high gear. Everybody knows that this is what it’s all about.”

Finally, the Judicial Confirmation Network’s Wendy Long was interviewed by Human Events where she attacked Elena Kagan, Diane Wood, and Sonya Sotomayor and accused Obama of wanting “judges to bring a political agenda to the bench and effectively legislate from the bench. He wants judges to tilt the law to favor certain groups and certain causes based upon the judge’s own personal feelings and personal views and personal politics.”

She also has an op-ed in the Washington Times saying that “In his arrogance, Mr. Obama has overlooked the fact that he was not elected based upon his criteria for Supreme Court justices” and that the American public does not support his views about what is needed in a judge and calling on GOP senators to take a strong stand:

Mr. Obama's nominee will carry with her to the Senate a presumption that she will, as her nominating president has said, have "empathy" for certain favored liberal causes and parties - making it difficult, as Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said, to uphold the federal judicial oath to dispense justice impartially. Mr. Obama's gold standard is the very opposite of impartiality.

Never in history have senators had such a heavy responsibility to scrutinize a nominee to see if she intends to follow the president's lawless standard of judging. If she does, they will have a responsibility to vote against her - and for the Constitution and the rule of law.