By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
David Souter was appointed to the Supreme Court by George H.W. Bush and endorsed by legions of conservatives who thought he was one of them:
Labeled a "home run" for conservatives when he was nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1990, Justice David Souter has turned out to be anything but. In fact, conservatives now use Souter as an example of the kind of justice they want President George W. Bush to avoid as he deliberates on a replacement for outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.Only one prominent conservative organization, the Conservative Caucus, opposed Souter's nomination 15 years ago. Other conservative groups believed Souter would help overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling legalizing abortion.
Boy were they wrong! Justice Souter became a permanent fixture in the court's most recent four-person progressive minority wing.
Is the same mistake being made in reverse on Judge Sonia Sotomayor?
The case is building that this may be what is happening. I blogged earlier todayabout her apparent anti-choice stance. Beliefnet.com Editor-in-Chief Steven Waldman posted the following tidbit yesterday:
And for those trying to divine her abortion views, there's one more tea leaf to read: she was on the board of a group formerly called the Maternity Center Association, now called Childbirth Connect. They list "20 Rights of Childbearing Women." None of them relate to the "right to choose." In fact, I find no mention of abortion on their website.
Now, all of this might not mean anything. She may prove to be a strong advocate of Roe v. Wade. But it's telling that the abortion interest groups took sides without knowing anything about her abortion views.
Nobody knows for sure except Judge Sotomayor and perhaps her close friends and family. But there is a case to be made that she's liberal on economic and union issues (and a host of other issues) but adheres to Catholic anti-choice doctrine on reproductive rights. My bet is she'll divulge nothing further in her confirmation hearings (no nominee ever does on that most hot button of issues). And we will know nothing more about her abortion rights views until they come out in the first Supreme Court opinion in which she participates or writes.
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Corrected on 5/28/09: An earlier version of this article misidentified the U.S. president who nominated David Souter to the Supreme Court. George H.W. Bush nominated Souter.