Sessions Predicts More GOP Unity on Judiciary

Posted May 17, 2009 at 11:51am

Senate Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) predicted that his ascension to the top Republican slot on the committee will mean a more unified, traditionally conservative position on legal issues for the GOP.

During an interview on C-SPAN’s “News Makers— program that aired Sunday, Sessions said that while he respected Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) who as part of his defection to the Democratic Party vacated the ranking member position his independent streak often meant a less than unified position amongst Republicans on the committee.

Sessions said that under his watch the committee’s minority will operate from “the Republican view, because Sen. Specter really was an independent person.— Sessions also said he has staffed the GOP side with aides who are “probably more uniformly in accord with underlying Republican— values.

Although a staunch conservative, Sessions said that he would not rule out supporting a Supreme Court nominee who supports abortion rights.

“Could I support a pro-abortion nominee? The answer is yes,— Sessions said.

Sessions will take center stage for Republicans in the coming Supreme Court nomination fight between the GOP and President Barack Obama. Sessions repeated his previous calls for restraint in the confirmation process, arguing that while tough questions should be asked, Republicans should avoid “gotcha— attacks and that the chamber’s confirmation responsibilities should be taken seriously.

“If we don’t rise to the occasion … we will have failed in that responsibility,— he said.

Sessions also said he does not “favor— a filibuster of judicial branch nominees and that the president should be given broad deference in making his selections. But Sessions did say the “extraordinary circumstances— definition for filibustering a nominee created by the “Gang of 14— in 2005 could end up being “the new standard.”