She said the Schiavo case is still raw for many pro-life activists, though some senators “are skittish about the whole thing.”
Congress ultimately passed, and Mr. Bush signed, a bill urging the federal courts to review the case. The Senate passed the bill without any objections while the House vote was 203-58 in favor. The courts ultimately ruled in Mr. Schiavo’s favor.
During last year’s Democratic presidential primary debates Mr. Obama said he made a mistake in not trying to stop the bill.
“As a constitutional law professor, I knew better,” he said.
The Justice Department nominees will be vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the committee’s chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said Mr. Perrelli and the others will “bring strong experience and professionalism.”
Mr. Leahy said he will try to push through the nominees quickly, and pointed to Mr. Bush’s 2001 Justice Department nominees, whom he said Democrats and Republicans alike “moved quickly” to confirm.
That will begin Jan. 15 with a confirmation hearing for Eric Holder, who Mr. Obama has nominated to be attorney general and who because of his involvement with President Clinton’s end-of-term pardons may be the most likely target for Republicans.
But so far, most Republican senators have been conciliatory to Mr. Obama’s picks, with some even saying his choices have eased their concerns.
Several Republican senators active on Mrs. Schiavo’s case in 2005 who are also on the Judiciary Committee didn’t respond to requests for comment yesterday.
Conservative activists said it’s a mistake not to fight.
“The Republicans have not made up their mind whether or not they ought to act like Republicans and respect and support the principles of our party platform as Republicans,” said Colleen Parro, executive director of the Republican National Coalition for Life. “Unless and until they do, they’re going to keep losing elections.”
Activists said there are other nominations they’d like to see challenged, including Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary and Tom Daschle as secretary of health and human services.