Confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice nominees are reportedly proceeding so quickly that Republicans and outside groups are unable to make meaningful criticisms of their intense support for abortion rights and other moral issues. One critic said the nominations portend the most “Culture of Death” justice department in American history.
“We are on the brink of having the most Culture of Death, anti-family Justice Department ever,” Leonard Leo, former Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee Catholic Outreach and Chairman of Students for Life of America, told CNA in an e-mail.
The first controversial Obama nominee is David Ogden, whose confirmation hearing for Deputy Attorney General is scheduled for next week, less than one month after his nomination. In an amicus brief for the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision which reaffirmed Roe v. Wade’s mandating of permissive abortion laws, Ogden argued that abortion “rarely causes or exacerbates psychological or emotional problems.”
“The few women who do experience negative psychological responses after abortion appear to be those with preexisting emotional problems,” he continued.
He argued that evidence shows abortion is more likely to make women “experience feelings of relief and happiness” and claimed childbirth and childrearing or adoption may pose “concomitant (if not greater) risks or adverse psychological effects” compared to the effects of abortion.
Thomas Perelli, the nominee for Associate Attorney General, is the second person pro-life and pro-family advocates are concerned about. Perelli is best known for representing the husband of Terri Schiavo in his effort to withdraw life-sustaining treatment from the severely injured woman.
President Obama has also chosen Dawn Johnson to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Johnson raises red flags for pro-lifers because she is a former counsel to the pro-abortion rights group NARAL. The Office of Legal Counsel provides the government with opinions about the constitutionality of proposed governmental acts.
Leonard Leo told CNA that Johnson’s nomination is “absolutely stunning.”
He said that Democrats and left-wing activists had complained the office had been politicized “in an unprecedented way” under the George W. Bush Administration.
“And, now, without any debate or discussion, the Obama Administration is putting forward an absolute political zealot from one of the most Leftist groups in the country,” Leo argued.
The nominee for Solictor General, Elena Kagan, is reportedly a lesbian who strongly opposed the Solomon Amendment, which denies federal grants to institutions of higher education which forbid military recruitment or the Reserve Officer Training Corps from campus.
“A Deputy Attorney General who signed a brief in Casey dismissing the psychological harm caused by abortion. An Associate Attorney General who supported withdrawing Terry Schiavo's life-sustaining treatment. An Assistant Attorney General who was counsel to NARAL. And a Solicitor General who has actively supported homosexual rights, particularly in regard to banning military recruiters on campus,” Leo summarized.
“Could it be worse? Can you imagine the legal advice they'll be giving?”
Leo predicted that President Obama’s Justice Department may greenlight culturally radical positions on abortion funding, conscience protection issues, same-sex “marriage,” other abortion-related issues, and end-of-life issues.
“At a minimum, Republican Senators need to slow down this train,” Leo advised. “They need to ask the tough questions in hearings and afterwards. There needs to be ample time to debate, to get the nominees' opinions and commitments on key issues.”