Abortion Should Not Be Litmus Test For Court Picks

Armen Hareyan's picture

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani,who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, on Wednesdayin Council Bluffs, Iowa, told reporters that he would not use apotential U.S. Supreme Court nominee's abortion-rights position as a"litmus test," Long Island Newsday reports (Gordon, Long Island Newsday, 7/18).

"Abortion is not a litmus test," Giuliani said, adding that Roe v. Wade,the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case that effectively barred state abortionbans, also "is not a litmus test. No particular case is a litmus test.That's not the way to appoint Supreme Court justices or any judge." Healso said that judicial candidates would not decide on future abortioncases ahead of time, adding, "Otherwise, why have legal arguments ifyou're not going to give judges a chance to change their mind" (Quaid, AP/Forbes, 7/18).

Giuliani in an interview on Fox News Sunday in May said his Supreme Court nominees would be "free to take a look" at the "limitations" of Roe ,adding, "But I believe I should leave it to them to decide that." Healso said he would not rule out choosing a judge known to be anopponent of abortion rights if he "thought that on 20 other issues" thejudge "would be terrific" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 5/15). Giuliani during a debate in May at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., said that it "would be OK" if Roewere repealed, adding, "Or it would be OK also if a strictconstructionist judge viewed it as a precedent, and I think a judge hasto make that decision" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 5/4).

Giuliani did not mention abortion in a speech Wednesday at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, the Des Moines Register reports.However, he said he would appoint Supreme Court judges similar toSupreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as Justices SamuelAlito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas (Roos, Des Moines Register, 7/19).

Documents Detail Fred Thompson Work for NFPRHA


Former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.), who is expected to announce hiscandidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, charged about$5,000 to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, which supports abortion rights, for nearly 20 hours of work in 1991 and 1992, according to records for the law firm Arent Fox, the New York Times reports.Thompson billed the group for 3.3 hours of lobbying "administrationofficials," as well as for 22 conversations with former NFPRHAPresident Judith DeSarno, according to billing records from Arent Fox,where Thompson worked part time from 1991 to 1994 (Becker, New York Times, 7/19).

DeSarnohas said that in 1991, NFPRHA hired Thompson to urge the George H.W.Bush administration to withdraw or relax a federal policy on fundingrestrictions for clinics that provided abortion-related counseling.Minutes from a NFPRHA board meeting on Sept. 14, 1991, reportedly statethat the group had "hired Fred Thompson Esq. as counsel to aid us indiscussions with the administration" on the abortion-counseling policy.

Thompsonspokesperson Mark Corallo on July 9 denied that Thompson worked for thegroup, but on July 12, Corallo said Thompson has "no recollection ofdoing any work" for NFPRHA. Thompson in a columnposted July 11 on the blog Power Line said he does not remember butwill not dispute evidence alleging that he lobbied for NFPRHA.

Inthe column, Thompson wrote that if a "client has a legal and ethicalright to take a position, then you may appropriately represent him aslong as he does not lie or otherwise conduct himself improperly whileyou are representing him." He added, "In almost 30 years of practicinglaw, I must have had hundreds of clients and thousands of conversationsabout legal matters. Like any good lawyer, I would always try to givemy best, objective and professional opinion on any legal questionpresented to me" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/16).

Corallo on Wednesday said that NFPRHA was an Arent Fox client and thatthe "firm consulted with Fred Thompson." Corallo added, "It is notunusual for a lawyer to give counsel at the request of colleagues, evenwhen they personally disagree with the issue."


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