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Specter Defection Could Help Pro-Life Cause in Supreme Court Battle

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The recent defection of Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republican to the Democratic party could inadvertently help pro-life advocates during the upcoming battle to replace Supreme Court justice David Souter. According to a report on, all Supreme Court nominees must first go through a hearing and vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee. This committee requires the consent of at least one Republican to end debate and move the nominee to the full Senate for a vote. Specter, the former ranking minority member of the Republican Party, would have been the most likely of all GOP lawmakers on the Committee to sign off on a pro-abortion nominee. Without him, the rest of the GOP members on the committee, who are all pro-life, could potentially band together and oppose any pro-abortion nominee. This would force Democrats to make the politically risky move of stripping the rights of the minority party by changing Senate rules in order to get around a Republican roadblock. William Jacobson, a professor of law at Cornell University, recently told FOX News, "I think, in narrow terms, it could present a procedural problem at the committee level, unless the Democrats are going to change the rules of the committee midstream." "Most people presume in a controversial nomination that Arlen Specter would have been the one most likely to vote with Democrats, since he prides himself on being independent of Republicans. But now that he moves over to the Democratic side, the president and Democrats lost their most likely minority vote," Jacobson explains. With Specter not able to provide the needed Republican vote, speculation turns to pro-life South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was a member of the Gang of 14, a group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who worked together to prevent filibusters of President Bush’s high court picks. However, Sen. Graham, who is the original author of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, is a strong supporter of life with a solid pro-life voting record who is also opposed to expanding funding for embryonic stem cell research. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly/Women of Grace.