Kaitlynn Riely | Correspondent | Friday, July 4, 2008
"It's not the economy, stupid," said Dr. Wanda Franz, referencing President Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign slogan. "No, for us, it's the Supreme Court."
The power of the president to appoint judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially changing the composition of the court and moving it to the right or left, is the "overriding issue" for this election, Franz said, speaking before an audience of pro-life advocates in Arlington, Va.
"Whoever wins the presidential election will determine the character of the court for decades," she said.
National Right to Life, and the pro-life movement at large, must work to elect a president who will appoint justices "guided by the Constitution" and who are amenable to undoing actions of previous judges, Franz added.
The committee's political action arm has formally endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican candidate.
Electing a president who will appoint pro-life judges is, for the National Right to Life Committee, the most important issue this election, Vice President Anthony J. Lauinger told Cybercast News Service.
"We believe that the protection of innocent human lives has to be a civilization's number one priority or that civilization will not long exist," Lauinger said. "The other issues that are being talked about in the campaign all are less important, in our perspective, than the protection of innocent human life."
In her remarks at the opening session of the National Right to Life three-day conference, Franz acknowledged that many Americans have other concerns and priorities that are influencing their presidential candidate preference. But if, for example, the next president makes poor economic decisions, Franz said, voters can make changes in the next election.
For the past 35 years, the pro-life movement has worked to overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton - the 1973 Supreme Court decisions that overturned laws outlawing abortion.
Shaping the federal judiciary will be second only to national security as the legacy of the next president of the United States, said former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).
Thompson, the keynote speaker at the opening session of the conference, was endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee when he announced his candidacy for president in 2007.
Thompson voiced support for McCain, noting that the Arizona senator has supported "sound constitutionalists" as judicial nominees and has been consistently pro-life. On the other hand, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic Party nominee, will bring about changes the pro-life movement does not want, Thompson told the audience.
"If Sen. Obama is elected, he will, through Supreme Court and federal court nominations, cause this trend to accelerate, and that will bring about changes in this country that no one in the room, and most Americans, want to see," Thompson said. "And no one in this room will live long enough to see [the changes] rectified."
The upcoming 2008 elections are important, said Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell, because they determine who has the power to make decisions that will decide the future of abortion in the United States.
"Not only in the federal election ... but in all these state elections, because ultimately much of the decisions that are made on the issue of abortion are made by state legislators," said McDonnell, speaking at the opening session.
Conference attendees told Cybercast News Service after the opening session that they concurred with the speakers.
"It is absolutely vital to have a court that is on the right side," said Gregg Trude, executive director of Montana Right to Life.
"We are very hopeful that the next Supreme Court vacancy is filled by someone who believes what the Constitution says and believes that it is the role of judges to interpret the law and not to make the law," Lauinger said.
The National Right to Life Committee is the largest pro-life group in the country. Its 36th annual conference is taking place July 3-5 in Arlington, Va.
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