Arlen's wheels keep on turnin' -- backwards


Geraldine Sealey
November 5, 2004 11:53PM (UTC)

Yesterday we were just delighted (if a little skeptical) to read that newly reelected GOP Sen. Arlen Specter had "warned" George W. Bush, in the words of the AP writer, against sending Supreme Court nominees to the Hill who would overturn Roe vs. Wade or are otherwise so conservative as to risk a Democratic filibuster.

From the AP: "When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is unlikely,' Specter said, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion."

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"'The president is well aware of what happened, when a bunch of his nominees were sent up, with the filibuster,' Specter added, referring to Senate Democrats' success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of many of Bush's conservative judicial picks. '... And I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning.'"

Arlen, didn't you hear the president? He said he would reach out to those who "share our goals"; that does not include uppity Republican senators who publicly "warn" him about judicial nominees. Within hours, after a media frenzy over his comments, Specter apparently realized that the controversy could prevent him from ascending to the post of Senate Judiciary chair next year, and furiously backpedaled. "Contrary to press accounts, I did not warn the president about anything" and would "never apply any litmus test" on abortion, Specter said in a statement. Later, he told the Washington Post: "I expect to support [Bush's] nominees."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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