.- President Barack Obama never asked U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor whether she supports the pro-abortion rights Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, a White House spokesman said on Wednesday.
“The president doesn’t have a litmus test and that question was not one that he posed to her,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, CNSNews.com says.
The 1973 decision Roe v. Wade struck down most state laws restricting or prohibiting abortion. Nominations to the high court consistently attract speculation about what effects the new justice may have on efforts to overturn or reaffirm the precedent-setting ruling.
In Senate confirmation hearings of recent Republican nominees to the court, nominees refused to state their view of Roe v. Wade on the stated grounds that doing so would appear prejudicial if any abortion-related cases were to come before the high court.
On Thursday the New York Times said that pro-abortion activists are “quietly expressing unease” that Judge Sotomayor might not be a “reliable vote” to uphold Roe v. Wade.
Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said her group was looking forward to learning more about the nominee’s views on “the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision” in Senate hearings.
According to the New York Times, Keenan is pressing senators to make discussion about Roe v. Wade part of the nomination hearings before they vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor.
The nominee has never directly ruled on the constitutionality of abortion. She has ruled against one pro-abortion group’s claim that the Mexico City Policy was unconstitutional, but did so on the grounds of existing precedent.
President Obama has described Sotomayor as having “respect for precedent and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.”