.- President-elect Obama has selected as Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody C. Barnes, a New York lawyer with an âunyieldingâ record of abortion rights advocacy.
According to the White House web site, the Domestic Policy Council oversees major domestic policy areas such as education, health, housing, welfare, justice, federalism, transportation, environment, labor and veteran's affairs.
It also oversees the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Barnes is a former Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, where she led the left-wing think tankâs Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative.
She has also served as a board member of EMILYâs List, a group formed more than two decades ago to support pro-abortion rights women candidates. Over the years the group has raised millions for Democratic women candidates who support unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand.
EMILYâs List has even cut funding from pro-abortion rights politicians who voted to ban partial-birth abortion.
Barnes has also lobbied on behalf of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).
Carlos Polo, director for Latin America at the Population Research Institute, has linked the Center for Reproductive Rights to a strategy to force permissive abortion laws upon Latin America.
Members of CRR have proposed using international litigation to âdevelop new standards for the protection of reproductive rightsâ and to force local authorities to ignore their countryâs laws and introduce changes that would allow abortion and âreproductive healthâ services for teenagers.
Barnes was a former aide to Sen. Ted Kennedy and was his chief counsel at the Senate Judiciary Committee from December 1995 to March 2003. According to the New York Times, Barnes is associated with a âbitter disputeâ over confirmation of a federal appeals court judge in 2002. At the time, charges were leveled against Barnes and another aide to Ted Kennedy that they tried to influence the outcome of a high-profile affirmative action case by delaying the confirmation of a judge who might have ruled against affirmative action.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, in a Monday statement voiced criticism of Barnesâ selection as head of the Domestic Policy Council.
Claiming her âforteâ is working with the âreligious left,â Donohue reported that Barnes has been described by the left-wing journal The Nation as a âdyed-in-the-wool progressive.â
âShe wants to overturn all restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, and her passion for abortion rights is so unyielding that she has served on the board of EMILYâs List and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund,â he charged.
Donohue also alluded to a controversy over pro-life Catholic and evangelical jurists allegedly being denied approval to serve as federal judges. Without mentioning specifics, he said Barnes had denied bigotry was an issue in the delay.