- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Pro-life groups yesterday united for an unprecedented campaign to encourage the Senate to confirm pro-life judges for vacancies expected on the Supreme Court in the near future.

"Never before have so many pro-life groups joined together to coordinate our efforts to restore protection to children in our lifetime," said Janet Folger of the Center for Reclaiming America.

Miss Folger's Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based pro-life organization, associated with D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, is one of 24 groups behind the "Shake the Nation" campaign. The coalition includes such religious and social conservative groups as the American Family Association, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family and the Traditional Values Coalition.

Washington area television viewers will witness one element of the campaign, a TV ad that shows babies disappearing as a result of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which struck down state laws against abortion.

"Shake the Nation" is using baby rattles as a symbol, urging supporters to send rattles to senators with an attached note asking them "to confirm pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and … protect children from … abortion."

The campaign — budgeted at $2 million, Miss Folger said at a press conference yesterday — began the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about the Senate's constitutional role in confirming judicial nominees.

President Bush is expected to have the chance to name at least one new member to the court. Three Supreme Court justices are older than 70, and Justice John Paul Stevens, a liberal, is the court's senior member at 81.

With the closely divided Senate under Democratic control, pro-life activists are concerned about a tough confirmation battle if Mr. Bush keeps his campaign promise to name conservative "strict constructionist" judges to the federal bench. One liberal leader yesterday signaled just such a strategy.

"It's becoming clear that the top priority of the Bush administration is to pack the federal appeals court with … right-wing ideologues," Ralph Neas of the People for the American Way said in a statement. Mr. Neas said he "urged senators to reject … right-wing ideologues who have not demonstrated a commitment to civil rights, civil liberties, and equal opportunity under the law."

Pro-choice groups apparently chose to ignore yesterday's an-nouncement of a new pro-life campaign. None issued a press release in response, and officials of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) did not respond to requests for comment.

Pro-life speakers at yesterday's event targeted what they called federal "judicial activism."

"Abortion was thrust upon us by Supreme Court justices, extended even to include partial-birth abortion," said Wendy Wright, director of communications of Concerned Women for America. "Our country cannot afford any more judges who view the federal bench as their throne."

Richard Lessner, executive director of American Renewal, a lobbying group affiliated with the conservative Family Research Council, said, "the era of judicial activism and social engineering under the color of law must end."

The campaign also aims to "get the message of truth out" and promote grass-roots pro-life support, Miss Folger said.


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