By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2009 ( – President Obama will have his first opportunity to influence the U.S. Supreme Court after Justice David Souter retires at the end of the term in June, according to news reports.

An NPR report and sources with the New York Times say that Justice Souter, 69, is in very good health, but is expected to return to New Hampshire amid strong rumors that he had grown to dislike life in the nation’s capital.  The NPR report suggests that Souter waited to retire until President Obama’s term, as he expects the new president to pick a justice with ideals similar to Souter’s. 

Although installed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, ostensibly as a strict constructionist and a moderate Republican, Souter has proven instead to be solidly liberal and a supporter for both abortion on demand and partial-birth abortion.

President Obama is unlikely to announce his candidate for the empty seat before the end of the Supreme Court’s session this year.  After the announcement, the nomination will be sent to the Senate for hearings and confirmation before the new session begins in October. 
Among possible candidates rumored to be on the President’s shortlist is Elena Kagan, whom he chose as the current U.S. Solicitor General.  The former Harvard Law dean’s current appointment was vigorously opposed by pro-life groups, as Kagan also supports partial-birth abortion and abortion on demand.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, an aggressive pro-abortion and same-sex “marriage” advocate, has also been floated as a possible Obama pick.  Patrick has led the charge in recent years to normalize homosexuality in his state, where pro-homosexual public school curricula is now mandatory. (  In regard to abortion, Patrick signed a 2007 bill creating a 35-foot “buffer” zone around abortion clinics, within which pro-life sidewalk counseling or witness is illegal. 

According to commentators, some sitting federal court judges Obama may be considering are Sonia Sotomayor of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and Diane Wood of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.  Obama may also be considering Stanford Law professor Kathleen Sullivan, and Harvard Law’s Cass Sunstein.

“We will work to oppose any nominee for the Supreme Court who will read the Freedom of Choice Act into the Constitution in order to elevate abortion to a fundamental right on the same plane as the freedom of speech,” stated Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President & CEO of Americans United for Life. 

“In his search for a replacement for Justice Souter, President Obama should avoid a pro-abortion litmus test.” Dr. Yoest continued. “This nomination represents a test for a President who has expressed a public commitment to reducing abortions while pursuing an aggressive pro-abortion agenda.”

“Obama received greater than expected opposition to his nomination of extremist pro-abort Kathleen Sebelius to HHS,” commented Operation Rescue Troy Newman today.  “He can only expect that opposition will continue to grow if he has the poor sense to appoint a justice that will promote abortion from the bench.”


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