Supreme Court Partial Birth Abortion Case - “I’m Convinced Kennedy will vote with Us”

By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, November 8, 2006 ( - Moments after the hearing of oral arguments in the partial-birth abortion case before the United States Supreme Court today, a pro-life lawyer involved in the case is predicting a “major victory”. Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said that he is convinced the ban on partial birth abortion will be ruled constitutional.

The ACLJ has filed amicus briefs in both cases before the Supreme Court - including one on behalf of some 80 members of Congress - including the sponsors of the federal ban on the gruesome procedure.

In 2000, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reject the state ban on partial-birth abortion by Nebraska. Now, the high court - with two new Justices - heard oral arguments in two cases challenging the federal ban on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.“Three of the Justices - Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas - already have compared this procedure to infanticide when the court rejected Nebraska’s state ban six years ago,” said Sekulow.

Since that time Bush appointees to the Supreme Court John Roberts and Samuel Alito have joined the court. Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor who supported striking down the Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Alito and Roberts are expected to vote in favour of the federal ban. While Kennedy has voted in favour of such a ban in the past, his vote is uncertain. However, after attending the hearings today, Sekulow said of Justice Kennedy, “Based on the questions that he asked and the answers that were given I am convinced that he will in fact stay with us and find the partial-birth abortion ban act constitutional.”

Sekulow added: “The federal ban discussed today was the result of extensive Congressional hearings that produced a sound, constitutional solution to ending an abhorrent practice that is never medically necessary. The Solicitor General did an excellent job of presenting the government’s case in support of the ban. We’re hopeful that a majority of the Justices will conclude what most Americans already know: the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is a valid - indeed essential - barrier against infanticide.”

Although the Justices voted this afternoon, a decision is not expected till June.

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