The Conviction to Protect the Unborn: Arlen Specter vs. Janice Rogers Brown

Last week President Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (a.k.a. “Laci and Conner’s Law”). The law, which makes harming a fetus a separate offense in a federal crime against a pregnant woman, barely made it through the Senate and raised the ire of many a liberal. They claimed that this law will strip women of their collective “right” to abortion if not overturned. Of course, these arguments are the type we’ve heard from the pro-abortion Left for years — and will for years to come.

On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that a perpetrator can be convicted for two homicides in the killing of a pregnant woman, even if he is unaware of the pregnancy. The decision, which strengthened the state’s own version of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, stated that “there is no requirement the defendant specifically know of the existence of each victim.”

Involved in these events were two individuals whose future political careers could hinge on their positions regarding fetal homicide laws — in the Senate we have liberal Republican Arlen Specter and in California we have conservative Justice Janice Rogers Brown.

For Arlen Specter, the Unborn Victim of Violence Act was probably a tough call. Rarely shirking the positions of the pro-abortion lobby, the liberal Pennsylvania GOPer first voted for the Feinstein “poison pill” amendment, which would have undermined the bill and likely resulted in its ultimate demise. Specter then turned around and voted for the bill in its final form, sending it to the President for his signature.

Not surprisingly, politics surrounded his vote: Specter is locked in a tough primary fight with conservative Rep. Pat Toomey for the GOP nomination for Specter’s own Senate seat. A vote against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act surely would have hurt him in the polling booths of a state with one of the most pro-life senators in Washington (Sen. Rick Santorum).

Of course, Specter’s vote will likely be treated with kid gloves by the Left. They know that the bill would have passed without the liberal senator’s support, so they won’t criticize him too harshly since they need Specter in the Senate to help promote the pro-abortion cause — especially since Specter is likely to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee. From that perch, the liberal senator would have significant power over the judicial confirmation process, making it all the more difficult for a Republican president to see conservative judges confirmed to the federal bench, and more importantly, to the Supreme Court.

In California, Janice Rogers Brown may have sealed her fate in the quest for her confirmation to the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia when she supported the decision that gave a boost the California’s fetal homicide law. Brown, who was nominated for the Appeals Court by President Bush on July 25, 2003, has been blocked from confirmation by Senate Democrats and labeled “unqualified,” “out of the mainstream,” “unfit to serve,” “notoriously conservative,” “radical,” “extreme right-wing,” “hostile to constitutional rights,” and “arch-conservative.”

Some of Justice Brown’s most vocal critics have been from the pro-choice crowd, and they’ve done their worst to see her nomination tanked by their liberal cohorts in the Senate. But that did not stop Brown from not only voting with the majority in the California Supreme Court on Monday, but also writing the decision for the majority.

Telling, isn’t it? One person votes contrary to his traditionally pro-abortion stance in what likely can be described as an attempt to garner votes in an upcoming all-important primary vital to his career’s future, and one person votes in accordance with her pro-life stance without regard to the likely negative impact it will have on her career’s future.