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Capital Hill Watch Alert

Senator Arlen Specter Unfit for Chairmanship of Senate Judiciary Committee

In a post election news conference, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter was quoted as saying that it was “unlikely” the Senate, including its new members elected, would approve a Supreme Court judge, who would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

On November 4, 2004, in a statement issued in Washington, by Mr. Specter, “Contrary to press accounts, I did not warn the President about anything and was very respectful of his constitutional authority on the appointment of federal judges. I have never and would never apply any litmus test on the abortion issue.”

However, in a 1995 fundraising letter, Mr. Specter castigated anti-abortion policies and labeled pro-life activists as extremists.  (To view document: Specter 1995 Fundraising Letter  )

Furthermore, the senator's past legislative actions do not reflect the best interests of the American people but those of trial attorneys.  President Bush has indicated that tort reform is one of his top priorities for his second term.  However, it would be impossible to accomplish this if Mr. Specter becomes chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee as one can clearly infer from Mr. Specter's record.   For example, a product-liability reform bill was almost derailed by Senator Specter in May 1995.  For medical liability suits and against limiting punitive damages to three times economic damages not a hard cap because economic damages would not be capped, he voted against limits on attorney fees.  Also, an amendment to limit non-economic damages to $500,000 and against another to protect OB/GYNS from being sued for problems that they did not cause, Senator Specter voted against.

In more subtle ways, Senator Specter worked to block tort reform in the Judiciary Committee.  Into a class-action reform bill, a measure that would have emasculated it was sneaked in by Mr. Specter in 2003.  Recently, on overtime regulation, the senator was key to passing a measure in the Senate to block President Bush's reform.

Finally, in 1986, in the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Specter cast the deciding vote in rejecting President Reagan's nomination of the U.S. Attorney General (and current U.S. Senator)  Jefferson Sessions, III to be a federal judge.  And Mr. Specter voted against Robert Bork for the Supreme Court in 1987.

Most troubling about Senator Specter is that he wrongly believes that the Constitution is a living, growing document, responsive to the needs of a nation which is contrary to the belief of the Framers.  It has been speculated that two to four Supreme Court vacancies will occur and with the senator as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is highly probable that constructionist justices will be shunned and activist justices embraced.

What Can You Do?

Contact the Republican members of the Committee on the Judiciary listed below and urge them to ask Senator Specter to withdraw himself from consideration as Judiciary chairman.  Also, contact the Republican senators below, and urge them to do the same.

Contact Information:

United States Senate

Committee on the Judiciary

Orrin G. Hatch (Chairman - R-Utah)

Washington DC Office 
104 Hart Office Building 
Washington, DC 20510 
Tel: (202) 224-5251 
Fax: (202) 224-6331 
Web Site: hatch.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 

Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa)
Washington Office: 
135 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-1501 
Phone: (202) 224-3744 
Fax: (202) 224-6020 
Web Site: grassley.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.'    

Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)

Washington Office: 
730 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-0304 
Phone: (202) 224-4521 
Fax: (202) 224-2207 
Web Site: kyl.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 

Mike DeWine (R-Ohio)

Washington Office: 
140 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3503
Phone: (202) 224-2315
Fax: (202) 224-6519
Web Site: dewine.senate.gov  
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.'          

Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)

Washington Office: 
335 Russell Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-0104 
Phone: (202) 224-4124 
Fax: (202) 224-3149 
Web Site: sessions.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 

Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)

Washington Office: 
290 Russell Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-4001 
Phone: (202) 224-5972 
Fax: (202) 224-3808 
Web Site: lgraham.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 
Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
Washington Office: 
520 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-1203 
Phone: (202) 224-2752 
Fax: (202) 228-1067 
Web Site: craig.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.'  

Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia)

Washington Office: 
416 Russell Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-1005 
Phone: (202) 224-3521 
Fax: (202) 224-0103 
Web Site: chambliss.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 

John Cornyn (R-Texas)

Washington Office: 
517 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, D.C. 20510-4302 
Phone: (202) 224-2934 
Fax: (202) 228-2856 
Web Site: cornyn.senate.gov 
E-mail: Contact Via 'Web Form.' 

Republican Senators  

Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) 202-224-6665
Senator Ted Stevens (AK) 202-224-3004
Senator Richard Shelby (AK) 202-224-5744
Senator  John McCain (AZ) 202-224-2235
Senator Wayne Allard (CO) 202-224-5941
Senator-Elect Mel Martinez (FL) 202-224-3121
 Senator -Elect Johnny Isakson (GA) 202-224-3121
Senator Michael Crapo (ID) 202-224-6142
Senator Richard Lugar (IN) 202-224-4814
Senator Sam Brownback (KS) 202-224-6521
Senator Pat Roberts (KS) 202-224-4774
Senator Jim Bunning (KY) 202-224-4343
Senator Mitch McConnell 202-224-2541
Senator -Elect David Vitter (LA) 202-224-3121
Senator Susan Collins (ME) 202-224-2523
Senator Olympia Snowe (ME) 202-224-5344
Senator Norm Coleman (MN) 202-224-5641
Senator Christopher Bond (MO) 202-224-5721
Senator Jim Talent (MO) 202-224-6154
Senator Thad Cochran (MS) 202-224-5054
Senator Trent Lott (MS) 202-224-6253
Senator Conrad Burns (MT) 202-224-2644
Senator -Elect Richard Burr (NC) 202-224-3121
Senator Elizabeth Dole (NC) 202-224-6342
Senator Chuck Hagel (NE) 202-224-4224
Senator Judd Gregg (NH) 202-224-3324
Senator John Sununu (NH) 202-224-2841
Senator Pete Domenici (NM) 202-224-6621
Senator John Ensign (NV) 202-224-6244
Senator George Voinovich (OH) 202-224-3353
Senator -Elect Tom Coburn (OK) 202-224-3121
Senator James Inhofe (OK) 202-224-4721
Senator Gordon Smith (OR) 202-224-3753
Senator Rick Santorum (PA) 202-224-6324
Senator Arlen Specter (
PA) 202-224-4254
Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI) 202-224-2921
Senator -Elect Jim DeMint (SC) 202-224-3121
Senator -Elect John Thune (SD) 202-224-3121
Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) 202-224-4944
Senator Bill Frist (TN) 202-224-3344
Senator Kay Hutchison (TX) 202-224-5922
Senator Robert Bennett (UT) 202-224-5444
Senator George Allen (VA) 202-224-4024
Senator John Warner (VA) 202-224-2023
Senator Craig Thomas (WY) 202-224-6441
Senator Michael Enzi (WY) 202-224-3424

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