Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Abortion Foes May Get Judgeships

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Abortion Foes May Get Judgeships

Article excerpt

The White House is considering appointing some judges to the federal bench who have publicly opposed the legal right to abortion, in part to demonstrate the end of the era of the abortion litmus test, sources say.

The sources said that, while President Bill Clinton would retain his commitment to choose supporters of abortion rights for the Supreme Court, he and his senior aides did not believe that abortion should be a make-or-break issue for candidates to the lower federal courts.

Leaders of abortion rights groups have quietly protested such a two-tiered approach.

White House officials "don't want to be seen as holding people to litmus test demands," a senior congressional staff member said. "They want to maintain their commitment to freedom of choice but not be tagged with using a litmus test."

The idea of a litmus test on abortion began with the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980. Both Reagan and George Bush were elected on Republican Party platforms that pledged that only judges who were opposed to Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion a fundamental constitutional right, would be appointed.

Despite that pledge, both presidents and their senior aides denied using any such test, although Reagan and Bush seemed to nominate only candidates opposed to abortion rights. …

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