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Leahy’s Litmus Test


Leahy says he won’t vote for Roberts without support for Roe

The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt.–Sen. Patrick Leahy said on a radio call-in show that he would not vote to confirm John Roberts for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court if the appeals court judge does not proclaim his support for the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion ruling.

Leahy said on Vermont Public Radio’s “Switchboard” program that he wanted Roberts to answer questions about previous Supreme Court decisions when the judge appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for confirmation hearings.

Leahy is the ranking Democrat on that committee.

“Just as you would not have a justice nominee who said, `Well I wouldn’t consider Brown vs. Board of Education settled law,’ I don’t see how they could get confirmed. I don’t see how somebody who said that they didn’t consider Roe vs. Wade settled law … I don’t see how they get confirmed,” Leahy said.

The Vermont Democrat discussed several aspects of the Roberts’ nomination during the call-in show Tuesday.

Leahy said he would vote against Roberts if the senator believes the judge would pursue an “activist” judicial philosophy on the court.

“They have struck down parts of the violence against women act, environmental acts, child safety legislation,” Leahy said. “They’ve knocked down all these, basically writing the law themselves. I want to find out if he’s going to be as active as this _ as people like Justice (Antonin) Scalia and Justice (Clarence) Thomas have who have almost willy-nilly overruled things.”

The White House says it wants the full U.S. Senate to vote on the Roberts nomination before the new Supreme Court term starts at the beginning of October. Leahy said it would be a mistake to shorten the confirmation hearings in order to meet that timetable.


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