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Sotomayer Nomination Making Some Liberals Nervous

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Posted on May 29 2009 5:50 am
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Abortion-rights groups are concerned that Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor’s solidly leftist credentials may not extend to the one issue that is sacred to left-wing liberals—the 1973 decision to legalize abortion and the principles behind it.

Although many liberal organizations were quick to enthusiastically back Sotomayor, abortion-rights groups have been largely silent, nervously fearing a David Souter-style ideological switch. (Souter was thought by Republicans to be a solid conservative and an opponent of Roe v. Wade but later surprised everyone by voting to uphold abortion rights.)

NARAL Pro Choice America (a committed supporter of taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand) has praised Sotomayor’s experience and background but has stopped well short of issuing an endorsement. “We look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor’s views on the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision as the Senate’s hearing process moves forward,” NARAL president Nancy Keenan said Tuesday, the day the nomination was announced.

From the perspective of the abortionists, there appears to be some cause for concern. Although Sotomayor has not ruled directly on any aspect of Roe v. Wade, she has issued past rulings on unrelated legal issues whose results favored abortion-rights opponents. In 2002 she supported a Bush administration policy by dismissing an abortion-rights group’s challenge to the so-called “Mexico City” policy of denying federal funding to organizations that provide or promote abortions. She also called for renewed consideration of asylum claims from Chinese immigrants battling deportation orders on the grounds that China’s policy of forcing women to have abortions (for the purpose of population-control) amounts to persecution.

When Barack Obama was running for President last year, his campaign said he would make “preserving a woman’s right to choose under Roe vs. Wade a priority as president.” On Tuesday, however, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Mr. Obama did not specifically ask Sotomayor about her position on abortion. “The president doesn’t have a litmus test, and that question was not one that he posed to her.” Asked whether Obama had not promised to appoint judges who support abortion rights, Gibbs replied: “I’d have to look. I don’t remember exactly what he said on that topic.”

No wonder the abortionists are nervous.

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