Silence on Roe
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Roe v. Wade and object to silence around
In just a few days, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Supreme Court Justice.
Unfortunately, we already know what the hearing may look like -- at least when it comes to constitutional protections for abortion rights.
For more than a generation, the Senate has been part of a conspiracy of silence on abortion rights. Senators have either avoided the topic, or refused to press hard for honest answers on where judicial nominees stand. Nominees of both parties have been part of the game, too. Chief Justice John Roberts flatly refused to answer any questions about Roe v. Wade. Justice Clarence Thomas claimed never to have seriously thought about the case. (We all know how that ended up.)
Knowing a nominee's view on Roe is an essential part of understanding a nominee's judicial philosophy. And the Senate's failure to pursue questions about abortion rights has created dangerous uncertainty about a constitutional right that has already been badly weakened.
Even well-qualified, thoughtful nominees like Judge Sotomayor may feel obliged to play the game to avoid stirring up the anti-choice extremists who oppose abortion rights.
Enough is enough. The American people deserve a full and frank discussion about judicial nominees' views on privacy and abortion rights. We can handle it. And we deserve it.
It's the Senate Judiciary Committee's right and responsibility -- to ask those questions. And it's a judicial nominee's right -- and responsibility -- to tell the Senate and the public where they stand on this critical issue.
Please join me in urging the Senate to bring this critical issue into the open, where it belongs, alongside our other constitutional rights.
Thanks for everything you do!
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