Specter opposed for Judiciary Chairmanship

In 2004, FPN educated citizens on Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter’s (R-PA) history of opposing conservative judges.

(FPN) On the same day President Bush delivered his victory speech for gaining a second term, liberal U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) began undermining the President’s chances of appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. (See the story) His comments, while disturbing, were indicative of a much larger problem conservatives face with Specter’s presence on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Within hours of Specter’s inappropriate comments, Family Policy Network launched a nation-wide petition calling on the Senator to apologize to the President. Approximately 10,000 people, from all 50 staes, took advantage of the chance to express their concerns. Within days, FPN began educating grassroots conservatives on the following additional reasons why conservatives were opposing Arlen Specter for the job of Senate Judiciary Chairman.

President Bush’s margin of victory proves that we “have a narrowly divided country, and that’s not a traditional mandate… The number one item on my agenda is to try to move the party to the center.” – Sen. Arlen Specter, November 3, 2004.

The case against Arlen Specter:


– Specter denied the legitimacy of President Bush’s historic mandate.

– Specter announced a pro-abortion litmus test for the president’s judicial nominees. Specter claims that Roe v. Wade is “inviolate” and insists that “nobody can be confirmed today who does not agree with it.”

– Specter’s illegal litmus test would disqualify all constitutionalist nominees from serving on the Supreme Court of the United States and the lower federal courts.

– Specter’s illegal litmus test demands that all nominees violate the canons of judicial ethics by announcing or pledging how they will vote in a particular case.

– Specter will not promise to support the President’s nominees. Instead, he merely “hopes” that he can support them. The day after the election, when a reporter asked Specter if he would support the president’s nominees, the senator hesitated and equivocated: “I am hopeful that I’ll be able to do that. That obviously depends upon the president’s judicial nominees. I’m hopeful that I can support them.”

– Specter criticized President Bush’s first-term judicial nominees: “The nominees whom I supported in committee, I had reservations on.”

– Specter insulted Janice Rogers Brown, president Bush’s nominee to the important U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. Specter referred to Brown, a distinguished conservative and the first African American woman to serve on the California Supreme Court, as “the woman judge out of California” who he had reservations about.

– Specter insulted the entire Supreme Court of the United States, including Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia and Thomas. When a reporter asked Specter “Are you saying that there is not greatness” on the Supreme Court, Specter replied: “Yes. Can you take yes for an answer?”

– Specter’s comments reveal that, like Sen. Kerry and Sen. Daschle, Specter favors judges who follow politics and popular opinion, not the Constitution and the rule of law.

– Specter accused President Bush of ignoring the Senate’s advise and consent role: “The Constitution has a clause called advise and consent, the advise part is traditionally not paid a whole lot of attention to, I wouldn’t say quite ignored, but close to that.”

– Specter wants to encroach upon the president’s appointment power. Obstructionist Democrats filibustered ten of President Bush’s appeals court nominees. Now Specter wants the Senate to become MORE involved in judicial appointments: “My hope is that the Senate will be more involved in expressing our views.”


– Specter fought against the distinguished Judge Robert H. Bork, betraying President Reagan and his fellow Republicans.

– Specter voted against Judge Bork on the judiciary committee, and against Bork’s confirmation on the Senate floor. By joining liberal Democratic senators and radical left-wing groups in their opposition to Judge Bork, Specter gave those groups aid and comfort, and was instrumental in Judge Bork’s defeat.

– If Specter remained faithful to his president and his party, Judge Bork would almost certainly have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Specter’s opposition doomed him.

– Judge Bork warned Americans that Specter does not understand the Constitution and that Specter, along with Senate Democrats “professed horror at the thought that a judge must limit his rulings to the principles in the actual Constitution.”

– President Ronald Reagan called the left-wing assault against Judge Bork “an unprecedented political attack” on a Supreme Court nominee and “a tragedy for our country.” Specter rebuffed President Reagan’s plea to support Judge Bork.

– Specter helped defeat the nomination of conservative Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship.

– Specter warned filibustered appeals court nominee William Pryor that just because he voted for him on the committee did not mean that he would vote on the Senate floor for his confirmation.

– The “National Review” exposed Specter as “The Worst Republican Senator” in a prominent September 1, 2003 cover story. According to “National Review,” Specter “is not a team player…is an abortion rights absolutist, a dogged advocate of racial preferences, a bitter foe of tax reform, a firm friend of the International Criminal Court.”

– Specter refuses to support the elevation of Justice Clarence Thomas to Chief Justice: “I’d have to think about that,” Specter equivocated. Ditto for Justice Antonin Scalia: “I’d have to think about that too.” Specter once slandered Justice Thomas as a “disappointment.”


– The situation is urgent. Chief Justice Rehnquist is ill and a Supreme Court vacancy could be imminent if he chose to resign.

– President Bush may be called upon to nominate a Supreme Court justice soon.

– Court watchers predict as many as three Supreme Court vacancies during President Bush’s second term.

– President Bush will likely have a historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return the Supreme Court to constitutionalist principles.

– The President needs as chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee a loyal, reliable, conservative partner who will shepherd his nominees through the confirmation process.

– Under intense political pressure, Specter tried to recant portions of his post-election statements the day after he uttered them. That means nothing. His 20-year record of party disloyalty and tormenting conservative nominees means everything.

– As chairman, Specter will act as a vexatious intermeddler, second-guessing President Bush’s Supreme Court and lower court nominations. This imperils the President’s legacy.

– As chairman, Specter will have control over the committee’s staff, agenda, and schedule, giving him great power to obstruct the confirmation of conservative judges.

– Under the Senate’s seniority rules, Specter is slated to take over the Judiciary Committee, but under Senate rules and procedures, he can be stopped from becoming committee chairman.

– The window of opportunity to stop Specter is limited. Once he becomes chairman, it will be impossible to unseat him.


Specter warns Bush against nominating anti-abortion judges:

National Review Commentary blasts Specter endorsement by Bush: