Bush nominees who oppose abortion will get fair hearing, says Specter
WASHINGTON – Insisting he has no litmus test, the Republican in line to head the Senate Judiciary Committee pledged Sunday not to stall President Bush’s judicial nominees, even if the prospective judges oppose abortion rights.
The White House expressed confidence its choices would get a fair hearing.
Sen. Arlen Specter, a moderate from Pennsylvania who backs abortion rights, said he has supported judicial nominees in the past who do not agree with the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
“The fact is that I have supported all of President Bush’s nominees in committee and on the floor. I have never applied a litmus test,” Specter said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Looking ahead to the postelection session of Congress that begins Nov. 16, House Speaker Dennis Hastert said he thought House and Senate negotiators should be able to resolve their differences over competing versions of legislation to overhaul U.S. intelligence agencies.
With the election producing stronger Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, Hastert, R-Ill., also spoke of the need “to find solutions, and we should do it on a bipartisan basis.” A newcomer to the capital, Sen.-elect Barack Obama, D-Ill., said the election indicated to him that “people want to get beyond the slash-and-burn, scorched-earth politics that I think has become the custom in Washington.”
Meantime, White House political adviser Karl Rove said Bush in his second term “absolutely” would push for a constitutional amendment that says marriage consists only of the union of a man and a woman. Rove added that the president believes states can deal with the issue of civil unions between gay people, an arrangement that if enacted would grant same-sex partners most or all the rights available to married couples.
Right after Tuesday’s election, Specter set off a furor among conservatives when he said anti-abortion judges were unlikely to be confirmed by the newly elected Senate.