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Legislative Updates

Click here for health care legislative updates 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
November 17, 2011

Second Minibus Appropriations Package

Three Senate abortion promoting appropriations bills that had been combined into one “minibus” legislative package failed to reach the Senate floor Tuesday when pro-life Senators refused to grant “unanimous consent” for their consideration.

The spending bills for Energy and Water, the State Department/Foreign Operations, and Financial Services would normally be considered separately under Senate rules. Because Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted to pass the three measures quickly, he combined them into one “minibus” package. The problem for Senator Reid: he needed the unanimous consent of the Senate to bend the rules.

Because the three bills contained pro-abortion provisions, including ones that would allow taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, allow taxpayer funding of groups that provide or advocate for abortions abroad, and contribute tens of millions of dollars to the United Nations fund that supports China’s one child/forced abortion policy, four pro-life Senators refused to give their consent for Senator Reid’s procedural maneuver. Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Mike Lee (R-UT) all objected to bringing the “minibus” to the Senate floor, effectively killing the attempt to have the three bills considered.

Individual spending bills with pro-abortion provisions will likely be brought to the Senate for consideration again, but the “minibus” fast-track approach appears to have been derailed.

December 23, 2010

Defense Authorization Bill

Before Congress adjourned for the year last night, the House of Representatives approved by unanimous consent the Defense Authorization Bill to fund the military. House approval was necessary because the Senate passed a slightly different version from the one the House had voted upon earlier.

Absent from the bill was the Burris amendment, which would have allowed abortions to be performed at foreign and domestic military facilities. Passage of the Defense spending bill leaves intact the current ban on the performance of almost all abortions at military hospitals and clinics.

The newly elected Congress will convene on January 5, 2011.

December 20, 2010 Legislative Update

Defense Authorization Act

The House voted 341 to 48 on Friday to pass a stripped-down version of the Defense Department’s spending authorization bill. The measure does not contain any of the more controversial components included in previous versions, prominently omitting the Burris amendment which would have reversed current policy and allowed abortions to be performed on foreign and domestic military facilities.

The legislation, which preserves the ban on almost all abortions at military bases, now goes to the Senate.

International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act

The House voted 241 to 166 for a bill to fund programs in foreign countries for the stated purpose of preventing young girls from being forced into marriage. The bill did not pass, however, because it was brought up for a vote under the “suspension of rules” procedure, under which a bill requires a two-thirds majority.

Pro-lifers opposed the legislation because there were no safeguards against the $108 million that would have been authorized from going to groups that perform or advocate for abortion. Under the “suspension of rules” procedure, no amendments were permitted, forcing a “take it or leave it” vote.

December 17, 2010

Omnibus Spending Bill


The $1.1 trillion spending authorization bill introduced in the Senate this week has now been withdrawn by Majority Leader Harry Reid after it became clear that he did not have the 60 necessary votes to bring the measure to the floor. The legislation would have funded abortions in the District of Columbia and given extra money to organizations that perform abortions domestically and abroad.

The Omnibus Spending Bill would have been binding until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2011. Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will now work out a short term funding bill that will keep the government operating beyond tomorrow, allowing the next Congress to determine spending levels for the remainder of the fiscal year. 

December 16, 2010

Omnibus Spending Bill

The Senate is expected to stay in session through the weekend to approve a bill to keep the government funded beyond Saturday. Should the Senate and House not agree on a measure, the government could shut down next week.

The spending authorization bill the Senate is considering would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year – until September 30, 2011. Republicans, upset that lame duck Democrats in Congress are trying to set spending levels, want a short term spending bill now that would allow the new Congress make those decisions next January or February.

At issue for pro-lifers are several key parts of the Omnibus Spending Bill the Senate leadership is pushing. It would:

- fund abortions in the District of Columbia;
- increase federal funding for family planning groups that also perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood; and
- increase federal funding for international family planning groups that also perform abortions, like Planned Parenthood International.

At this time, it’s not clear if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has the 60 votes necessary to bring the spending bill to the floor.

December 10, 2010

Burris Amendment – Defense Authorization Act

The Senate yesterday voted against bringing the Defense Authorization Act to the floor for consideration, limiting the chances that Congress will take action on the pro-abortion Burris amendment during the lame duck session.

The Burris amendment to the Defense Authorization Act would change existing law to allow abortions to be performed in foreign and domestic military facilities. It was included in the Defense spending bill by a Senate committee earlier this year, but Majority Leader Harry Reid could not muster the 60 votes necessary to bring the full measure to the Senate floor for a vote.

Given the limited time left in the lame duck session and priorities such as tax legislation, reports indicate that the Defense bill may not be reconsidered until the new Congress convenes next year.

December 9, 2010

The Burris Amendment -- Abortions at Military Hospitals

The Senate may vote as early as today to bring the Defense Authorization Act to the floor for debate. The Defense bill contains the Burris amendment, a measure that would allow abortions to be performed at both foreign and domestic military facilities.

Consideration of the Defense Authorization Act may be delayed, however, until the Senate votes on the pending compromise legislation to extend tax cuts and unemployment benefits. According to press reports, Senate Leader Harry Reid wants to bring up the Defense Authorization Act as soon as possible, but he needs at least two Republican votes to do so and Republicans are insisting that the tax bill be resolved first.

December 2, 2010

HR 5953 – The Women Veterans Bill of Rights Act

The House of Representatives approved by voice vote the Women Veterans Bill of Rights Act, but not before pro-life language requested by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) was added. The additional language insures that the measure creates no new rights to abortion or abortion counseling at Veterans Administration facilities.

December 1, 2010

HR 5953 – The Women Veterans Bill of Rights Act

The House is expected to vote today on a revised version of HR 5953, the Women Veterans Bill of Rights Act. In an attempt to cure ambiguous language that could have been used to mandate the performance and funding of abortions at Veterans Administration facilities, the bill’s sponsor, pro-abortion Congressman Bob Filner (D-CA) has added a clause stating, “Nothing in this Act shall be construed to establish a right to any service excluded under 38 C.F.R. 17.38….” Abortion and in vitro fertilization are two such excluded services.

November 30, 2010 Update

HR 5953 – The Women Veterans Bill of Rights

The lame-duck House of Representatives may begin consideration of the innocuous sounding “Women Veterans Bill of Rights” today. The measure contains language that could be construed to require the provision and funding of abortions at Veterans Administration facilities. While abortions are currently excluded from veterans’ benefit packages, this exclusion does not extend to new authorities, such as those created by HR 5953. 

September 30, 2010

Congress Goes Home for Elections

The House of Representatives adjourned in the early morning hours today after passing a Senate-approved continuing funding resolution to keep the government operating for the next two months. With the Senate adjourning Wednesday night, Congress will now be inactive until after the elections. Both houses will return on November 15 for what one Democrat Senator has termed “the mother of all lame duck” sessions.

September 21, 2010

The Senate voted 56-43 today on a motion to end debate and bring the 2011 Defense Authorization Act to the floor. Sixty votes were needed for the motion to pass, so the measure will now not be considered until a December lame duck session or, perhaps, when the new Congress convenes.

The Defense Authorization bill contains the “Burris” amendment, which would change existing law to allow abortions to be performed at military hospitals and facilities both abroad and in the U.S.

September 17, 2010

Defense Authorization Act

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a cloture motion on the 2011 Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, meaning the Senate may vote to consider the measure next Tuesday, September 21. The spending bill contains the so-called Burris amendment, which would change existing federal policy to allow abortions to be performed at military hospitals and facilities in the U.S. and abroad.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has indicated that he may filibuster the Defense Act because of its inclusion of the Burris amendment and the possible inclusion of amendments dealing with illegal immigration and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Even if Senator Reid is successful in having the Senate vote to begin consideration of the legislation, it’s not clear if a final vote on the bill could take place before Congress leaves Washington for the campaign trail.

September 14, 2010

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Funding

On the first day back from summer recess, pro-abortion Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) on Monday introduced legislation that would write into law President Barack Obama’s executive order purporting to legalize federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House, sponsored by pro-abortion Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Mike Castle (R-DE).

The bills come as a federal appeals court is weighing whether to enjoin embryonic stem cell funding while a lawsuit against such use of taxpayer money winds its way through the court system. A lower federal court had ordered such funding suspended, but an appeals court has temporarily restored the spending. Should the Specter/DeGette/Castle bill become law, the lawsuit would become moot.

It’s not known at this time whether either the House or Senate will actually vote on the legislation before breaking for the fall election campaign.

August 23, 2010

HR 5939

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the Bishop’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote to Members of Congress last Friday urging them to support HR 5939, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The bill, introduced by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), would make the annual Hyde amendment prohibiting almost all abortion funding permanent law. The measure would also extend the Hyde restrictions to cover not just Department of Health and Human Services spending, but all government spending. HR 5939 currently has 166 co-sponsors, including 20 Democrats.

A copy of Cardinal DiNardo’s letter is available at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/DiNardo-HR5939.pdf

August 6, 2010

Kagan nomination

The Senate voted 63-37 yesterday to confirm the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Five Republicans (Graham, Lugar, Snowe, Collins, and Gregg) voted for Ms. Kagan; one Democrat (Nelson) voted against her.

Coburn/Hatch bill on Obamacare

Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) yesterday introduced the “Excluding Abortion Coverage from the Health Reform Act of 2010” bill that would extend the Hyde Amendment to Obamacare. The measure would prevent taxpayer dollars from paying for abortion in the President’s health care overhaul except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother. The Coburn/Hatch legislation, which as yet does not have a number, is identical to the “Protect Life Act,” H.R. 5111, introduced by Congressman Joe Pitts in the House last April.

August 5, 2010

Kagan nomination

The Senate is expected to confirm the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court today. Immediately after, the Senate will go into its annual summer recess for five weeks.

August 4, 2010

Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced H.R. 5939, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Smith and Lipinski were joined by 155 bipartisan cosponsors which included 18 Democrats (including Lipinski) and 139 Republicans (including Smith). A joint press statement by Smith and Lipinski along with text of H.R. 5939 can be found here.

Obamacare

Evidence of Obamacare’s unpopularity continues to mount.

Yesterday, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly approved a measure that strikes at the heart of the President’s health care law. Proposition C, which passed with 71% of the vote, would prevent anyone from being required to buy health insurance or participate in a health care system. Obamacare, of course, requires that everyone buy health insurance or pay a fine.

It’s expected that the federal government will challenge Proposition C in court, but Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma will have similar measures on their ballots this November.

On the national level, Rasmussen Reports’ latest survey shows 59% of likely voters favor repeal of Obamacare, while a record 57% say the President’s health care overhaul will be bad for the country.

Kagan nomination

The full Senate officially began debate on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court yesterday. Majority Leader Harry Reid is said to be pushing for a final confirmation vote on Thursday so that Senators can leave Friday for their five-week summer

August 3, 2010

The Senate is scheduled to begin debate today on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to his colleagues outlining the case against the Kagan nomination. He specifically mentioned her efforts as a Clinton White House advisor to have the official partial-birth abortion statement of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists rewritten to suit the political objectives of the President.

Given that five Republicans have announced that they will vote for Ms. Kagan, a filibuster of the nomination is extremely unlikely. A final vote is expected later this week.

July 30, 2010

Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) on Thursday filed legislation to make the provisions of the Hyde amendment permanent and applicable to all federal agencies.

Currently, Congress must approve Hyde amendment language every year in the Health and Human Services funding bill. The Smith/Lipinski measure would bar federal money from being used for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother, on a permanent basis. It would also apply the funding restrictions to all federal departments and agencies, not just the Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation has not yet received a bill number.

July 21, 2010

Kagan nomination

With Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) the only member to break party lines, the Judiciary Committee voted 13-6 Tuesday to approve the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. The full Senate is expected to hold a confirmation vote on Ms. Kagan before the August recess.

July 20, 2010

Kagan nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee, consisting of 12 Democrats and seven Republicans, is expected to vote along party lines today to approve Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. A vote by the full Senate to confirm Ms. Kagan will reportedly occur prior to the upper chamber’s August recess.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has sent a letter to Senators asking them not to confirm Ms. Kagan. He wrote that her 1997 efforts to manipulate the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ statement on partial-birth abortion were “unethical” and “disgraceful.”

July 15, 2010

Military abortions

Congressmen W. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Gene Taylor (D-MS) have sent a letter signed by 180 pro-life House Republicans and Democrats to the Senate and House leadership asking that the current ban on abortions at military facilities remain in place.

An amendment to the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill offered by Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) and adopted by a Senate committee would allow abortions to be performed at U.S. military hospitals and facilities both domestically and abroad. The Burris amendment seeks to overturn a policy against such abortions that has been in place since 1996.

The full Senate has not yet voted on the Defense bill containing the Burris amendment; if passed by the Senate, the House would then have to consider the measure.

A copy of the Akin/Taylor letter is available here.

July 12, 2010

Kagan nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan tomorrow, but the vote could be delayed. Committee rules allow any member of the committee to “hold over” the vote for one week. As yet, no such request has been made, but the possibility exists that the Committee vote may not happen until July 20. 

July 8, 2010

President Obama yesterday appointed Harvard professor Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. An advocate of health care rationing, Dr. Berwick will now oversee the nation’s two largest medical care programs with a budget larger than the Defense Department’s.

The President claimed that the “recess appointment” of Dr. Berwick, whereby there will be no public Senate confirmation process, was necessary because Republicans were blocking the nomination. Republicans countered that the Democrats never even scheduled a committee hearing for Berwick because they did not want his statements praising health care rationing and wealth redistribution publicized. Dr. Berwick will now be in charge of implementing much of Obamacare at least until the end of 2011.

July 2, 2010

Kagan nomination

With the Senate now in recess for the Fourth of July, a Judiciary Committee vote on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court will not occur until after the upper chamber returns on July 12. The full Senate is expected to receive the nomination later this month.

July 1, 2010

Kagan nomination

Direct questioning of Elena Kagan concluded Wednesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings on her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), among others, asked Ms. Kagan about her role in amending the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ 1997 statement on partial-birth abortion while a policy advisor to President Bill Clinton (see June 30 Legislative Update). Ms. Kagan admitted that she wrote the memo describing the original ACOG draft statement, which said partial-birth abortion was never the only method available to terminate a late-term baby, as a potential “disaster.” She claimed that she only meant that it would be a disaster if ACOG’s full position, apparently as written by her, was not included in the group’s statement. Senator Hatch responded that he was still bothered by her actions.

Today’s Committee hearing, during which outside witnesses will testify for or against the Kagan nomination, will not begin before 4:00 pm due to ceremonies being held for the late Senator Robert Byrd. As of this morning, it’s not known if the hearings will conclude tonight, tomorrow, or when the Senate reconvenes from its Fourth of July recess on July 12

June 30, 2010

Kagan nomination

On Tuesday, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan stated during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings that she believed any law regulating or restricting abortion is required by the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions to have a “health” exception. When asked about the Court’s 2007 decision in Gonzalez v. Carhart upholding Congress’ partial-birth abortion statute that had no health exception, Ms. Kagan said she thought that the Gonzalez decision applied only to laws involving partial-birth abortion and was not binding on other types of abortion restrictions.

A new development in Ms. Kagan’s role in the decade-long federal battle over partial-birth abortion also made news on Tuesday. Documents released by the Clinton presidential library show that as a domestic policy advisor to President Bill Clinton, Ms. Kagan took it upon herself to suggest to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) what its statement on partial-birth abortion should be. The language composed by the then Clinton appointee was adopted by ACOG word for word.

In its draft statement on partial-birth abortion, which was submitted to the Clinton administration prior to its release, ACOG wrote that it “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.” In an internal memo, Ms. Kagan wrote that such a statement “would be a disaster” politically for the Clinton administration. She countered that ACOG should add to its statement that partial-birth abortion “may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”

ACOG added the Kagan language verbatim and then claimed that its statement had been drafted by expert medical professionals. Courts, including the Supreme Court, relied on the ACOG statement in striking down the first federal partial-birth abortion ban.

Whether Senators will question Ms. Kagan on her role in this matter remains to be seen.

Abortions at military facilities

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, wrote to members of the Senate yesterday asking them to remove the Burris amendment from the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3454). The Burris amendment would change longstanding federal law by allowing abortions to be performed at military hospitals and facilities both in the U.S. and abroad.

Cardinal DiNardo reminded Senators that during the health care debate, President Obama and Congressional leadership agreed that it is not “the task of our federal government to directly promote and facilitate elective abortions.” A copy of his letter is available at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/DiNardo-Ltr-Military-Abortions-6-29-2010.pdf.

June 29, 2010

Kagan nomination

Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court began yesterday with Senators and Ms. Kagan each offering opening statements. Actual questioning of the nominee is expected to begin today.

June 25, 2010

HR 5175 – The Disclose Act

The House voted 219-206 Thursday to pass the so-called “Disclose Act.” The measure would, among other things, require some interest groups, including pro-life organizations, to include the names of their top five donors in any political ads, thereby discouraging contributions to those groups and limiting the content of their 30- or 60-second messages. The measure also places requirements on political advertising by corporations, but exempts unions and a few major interest groups. House Minority Leader John Boehner said that Democrats “want to use the majority here in the House to silence their political opponents, pure and simple. Is there any other explanation for this bill?"

The measure, which Democrats hope to pass in time for the November election cycle, now goes to the Senate, where a Republican filibuster is a possibility.

Kagan Nomination

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Minority Member of the Judiciary Committee, said yesterday that he would not rule out the possibility of a filibuster against the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. The Kagan confirmation hearings begin Monday.

June 24, 2010

HR 5175 – the “Disclose Act”

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the “Disclose Act” today, a bill that would discourage political ads for or against those running for federal office. Among its requirements, the measure would demand that groups that sponsor political advertising name in those ads their top five donors. Democrat sponsors of the legislation have carved out exemptions so that large organizations like the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the AARP would not be subject to its requirements.

Kagan Nomination

The National Right to Life Committee yesterday sent a letter to members of the Senate stating its formal opposition to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. The letter, available at http://www.nrlc.org/Judicial/NRLCletterToSenateOnKaganJune232010.pdf, cites Kagan’s extensive involvement in opposing the first federal partial-birth abortion bill, her support for the cloning of human embryos for the purpose of experimentation, and her advocacy for limitations on political speech.

Also on Wednesday, Rasmussen Reports released its latest poll on the Kagan nomination, finding that opposition to the former Harvard Law School Dean is increasing. Forty-two percent of American voters now oppose Kagan’s nomination, up nine points since she was selected by President Obama; 35% favor her confirmation. 

June 22, 2010

Kagan Nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin confirmation hearings next Monday on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, but Republicans may not attend. The Committee’s ranking minority member, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said last night that 1,600 pages of material related to Kagan’s work in the Clinton Administration is still being held by the Clinton Presidential Library and that Committee Senators should be able to view those documents before voting on the nomination. When asked if Republican Senators might boycott the hearings if the documents are not produced, Senator Sessions did not discount the possibility.

In other Kagan news, Judge Robert Bork, whose own nomination to the Supreme Court was defeated by Democrat Senators on ideological grounds in 1987, is scheduled to announce his opposition to President Obama’s nominee on Wednesday.

June 21, 2010

HR 5175 – The “Disclose Act”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi postponed last Friday’s expected vote on HR 5175, the Democrats’ latest attempt to restrict campaign related advertising, when a backroom deal with the National Rife Association, the Sierra Club and other groups stirred new controversy among both the bill’s supporters and opponents.

The legislation would require that corporations and citizens’ groups, including pro-life organizations, disclose in their political ads the names of their top five donors. The recent experience of donors to California’s Proposition 8 traditional marriage initiative, wherein some lost their jobs or faced public harassment because of their contributions, illustrates how chilling this proposed requirement could be.

The National Right to Life Committee provides a detailed analysis of the measure in two letters to Congress available at
www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/NRLCletteronDISCLOSEAct.pdf and www.nrlc.org/FreeSpeech/NRLCLetterDISCLOSEActJune152010.html

May 21, 2010

Kagan Nomination

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan continues to meet with Senators prior to her confirmation hearings set to begin on June 28. Pro-abortion Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said that during her visit with Ms. Kagan, the former Solicitor General told her that she believes abortion law to be “settled.”

HR 5111

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Members of Congress yesterday asking them to support HR 5111, a bill that would add the abortion funding restrictions of the Hyde amendment to all of Obamacare and which would strengthen the conscience rights of health care workers. The measure has 91 co-sponsors.

The Bishops’ letter may be viewed at http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-103.shtml.

May 12, 2010

Kagan Nomination

President Obama’s nominee to succeed pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, current Solicitor General Elena Kagan, will begin meeting with Senators today in advance of her confirmation hearing, the date of which has not yet been set.

Congressmen Ask for Investigation of Obama Administration’s Actions in Kenya

Pro-life Congressmen Chris Smith (R-NJ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have written to the Inspector General of the State Department and the Agency for International Development, along with the Government Accountability Office, asking that the Obama administration be investigated for possibly violating federal law in its advocacy for Kenya’s new constitution.

The proposed Kenyan constitution would change that nation’s law, which currently allows abortion only to save the life of the mother, so that abortion would be widely legal. Federal law prohibits using taxpayer dollars to lobby for changing abortion laws in foreign countries.

April 12, 2010

President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen, withdrew her name from consideration last Friday. Ms. Johnsen, a former lawyer for what was then called the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), was nominated by the President in 2009 and again in 2010, was twice approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on party line votes, but never had enough support to be approved by the full Senate. Among her more controversial writings was a 1989 legal brief in which she compared denying a woman an abortion to involuntary servitude.

April 8, 2010

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said yesterday that he would not delay the hearing of President Obama’s nominee to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Goodwin Liu. The seven Republican members of the Judiciary Committee had requested a postponement of the hearing because Mr. Liu, a UC Berkeley law professor who is strongly pro-abortion, had not answered 117 questions submitted to him by committee members. Some observers speculate that Mr. Liu’s omissions from his questionnaire may be an attempt to conceal his prior statements and current views.

The Liu nomination hearing will now proceed on April 16.

April 7, 2010

The seven Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have written to the Committee Chairman, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), to request a delay in the scheduled April 16 hearing on the nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The request came after it was discovered that Mr. Liu had left blank 117 questions on the standard Senate questionnaire sent to federal bench nominees.

The Liu nomination has already generated controversy because of the 39-year-old professor’s work with the ACLU and the National Women’s Law Center. Strongly in favor of abortion on demand, he opposed the nomination of both Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. 

 

 

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