WASHINGTON, July 19, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Following today’s announcement regarding the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to serve as associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) in Washington, D.C. is concerned a filibuster will ensue, due to the judge’s pro-life stand.

“Liberal pressure groups will insist that Senate Democrats filibuster against Judge Roberts, unless he pledges in advance to vote against allowing elected legislators to place meaningful limits on abortion,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “Millions of Americans will be watching to see if the Democratic senators bow to these demands.”

In an interview conducted by Hugh Hewitt with Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, on April 11, 2005, the following exchange occurred: Hewitt: “Do you oppose and urge a filibuster for John Roberts?” Aron: “Yes, we would.” See: http://www.hughhewitt.com/nan_aron_interview.htm

In 1990, as a Justice Department official under the administration of President George H. W. Bush, Roberts wrote a brief in a pending Supreme Court case stating the Administration position “that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. . .”

After being nominated in 2001 by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Judge Roberts was reported favourably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 16-3, and confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on May 8, 2003.

The current Supreme Court, including Justices Rehnquist and O’Connor, is divided 6 to 3 in favour of the Roe v. Wade doctrine that abortion must be allowed for any reason until “viability” (about five and one-half months), and for “health” reasons (broadly defined) even during the last three months of pregnancy. The myth that the current Supreme Court is divided 5 to 4 on Roe, although cultivated by some pro-abortion polemicists and repeated by some journalists, was refuted by Annenberg Center’s FactCheck.org here: http://www.factcheck.org/article176.html

However, “The Supreme Court is clearly divided 5-4 on partial-birth abortion,” Johnson said.“The successor to Justice O’Connor will cast the deciding vote on whether the brutal partial-birth abortion method remains legal.”

On July 8, in the case of Carhart v. Gonzales, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, signed into law by President Bush in 2003, is invalid because it conflicts with the 2000 Supreme Court decision in Stenberg v. Carhart. In that Supreme Court case, five justices struck down Nebraska’s ban on partial-birth abortion. The effect of this Supreme Court ruling was to invalidate the laws enacted by more than half the states to ban partial-birth abortion, an abortion method in which a living premature infant is mostly delivered alive before being killed by puncturing her skull and removing her brain. O’Connor voted in the majority to strike down the bans on partial-birth abortion in that 5-4 ruling.

“Five years ago, five justices of the Supreme Court, including Justice O’Connor, ruled that Roe v. Wade allows an abortionist to perform a partial-birth abortion any time he sees a ‘health’ benefit, even if the woman and her unborn baby are entirely healthy,” Johnson said.“The Eighth Circuit ruling in Carhart v. Gonzales was based entirely on the prior 5-4 Supreme Court decision.”

Moreover, the Supreme Court may also be divided 5 to 4 on the question of parental notification for abortion. The Court has already accepted for the fall term the case of Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit struck down New Hampshire’s parental notification law. If the Supreme Court adopted the approach of the First Circuit ruling in this case, it could gut the parental notification laws of a number of other states as well. Based on past cases, it appears most likely that the current Court would split 4-4 on the case, with O’Connor (who has voted both for and against specific parental involvement laws in the past) as the deciding vote.