The liberal Philadelphia Inquirer has endorsed Sen. Arlen Specter on the grounds that a vote for Specter is a vote to save Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that overturned all state bans on abortion.
In its endorsement of Specter, the Inquirer writes:
Preserving the legality of abortion plays no small part in this decision. Sometime in the next four years, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee will very likely find himself in the pivotal role of scrutinizing at least one new Supreme Court nominee. Assuming that Republicans are in charge of the Senate, it would be better to have the chairman’s seat filled by Specter, who says Roe v. Wade is “inviolate” as the law of the land. If Specter loses, next in line among Republicans to be chairman is Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who opposes abortion rights.
This editorial comes less than two weeks after Specter pledged to use his chairmanship to confirm “centrist judges.”
In 1986, Specter was chiefly responsible for sinking the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, whom he said had too narrow a view of the Constitution. After Bork’s defeat, President Ronald Reagan appointed Anthony Kennedy, who cast the deciding vote in upholding Roe in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Specter won his primary against conservative challenger Pat Toomey by just over 10,000 votes when President Bush and Sen. Rick Santorum hit the state in a flurry of events in the final days of the campaign.