by James Tillman and John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, November 20, 2009 ( – The Senate voted 59-39 yesterday to confirm President Obama's first circuit court appointee, the pro-abortion Judge David Hamilton.  Although hailed as moderate by various news sources and dubbed
“thoughtful and distinguished” by President Obama, many conservatives have condemned him as a judicial activist who places his own preferences above the law.

“As a judge, Hamilton has shown himself to be soft on crime, radically pro-abortion, and hostile towards religion,” wrote a group of prominent conservatives upon Hamilton's nomination.  “With such a liberal activist record unmarked by significant experience, Judge Hamilton is clearly a bad and politically motivated appellate nominee.”

A vote to stop a filibuster of Hamilton was aided by ten Republicans who voted with the Democrats to limit debate on Hamilton’s qualifications.  The ten Republicans (along with their contact information) are listed below.

Hamilton’s confirmation came after the failed filibuster attempt by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.  He outlined the reasons for his attempt in a letter sent to his Republican colleagues on November 3rd.

“Judge Hamilton stated in a 2003 speech that the role of a judge includes writing footnotes to the Constitution,” Sen. Sessions wrote. Sen. Sessions continued by saying that Hamilton has said he “believes the Framers [of the Constitution] intended judges to amend the Constitution through evolving case law.”

He continued: “This view evidences an activist judicial philosophy. Judges are not given the power to amend the Constitution or write footnotes to it.”

Some see such philosophy as evident in Hamilton's 2005 decision in Hinrichs v. Bosma, in which Hamilton ruled that the legislature could not open with overtly Christian prayers—although prayers addressed to “Allah” he judged to be acceptable.  Additionally, in 1994 he denied a Rabbi’s request that a Menorah be part of the Indanapolis Municipal Building’s holiday display. Both decisions were subsequently overturned by a higher court.

Similarly, in A Woman's Choice v. Newman, Hamilton obstructed for seven years an Indiana law that required women to be given information about abortion and abortion alternatives at least 18 hours before the procedure.  As Heather Smith of Americans United for Life said, “Reversing Judge Hamilton’s rulings, the Court of Appeals noted the law was ‘materially identical to a law held valid by the Supreme Court in Casey, by this court in Karlin, and by the Fifth Circuit in Barnes. No court anywhere in the country (other than one district judge in Indiana [i.e., Hamilton]) has held any similar law invalid in the years since Casey. The court called Hamilton's reasoning on the ruling “an abuse of discretion.”

She continued: “Judge Hamilton ignored clear precedent in favor of his own abortion agenda.”

The Seventh Circuit court, which also overturned Hamilton’s opinions, is the court that Hamilton will now join .

Hamilton has has also raised funds for ACORN, the radical left-wing organization linked to prostitution and voter fraud, and worked as a head of the ACLU's Indiana chapter. Not all were bothered by his confirmation, however.

“We applaud the Senate's vote to confirm the eminently qualified Judge David Hamilton to serve in this critical position,” said Nancy Keenan, president of the pro-abortion NARAL organization.

NARAL had waged a campaign to confirm Hamilton in addition to two other pro-abortion Obama appointees.

The ten Republicans who voted against filibustering the nomination are:

Senator Lamar Alexander – Tennessee     Senator Saxy Chambliss  – Georgia      Senator Susan Collins – Maine

Senator John Cornyn - Texas                   Senator Judd Gregg – New Hampshire   Senator Orrin Hatch – Utah

Senator Richard Lugar – Indiana              Senator Lisa Murkowski – Alaska           Senator Olympia Snowe – Maine

Senator John Thune  - South Dakota

See related stories on

Pro-Abortion Judge Named Obama's First Fed. Court Pick

Indiana House Defies Judge with 83-0 Vote for Christian Prayer


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