ABORTION: GOP Internal Battle Looms Over Effort To Unseat Justices
An attempt by conservative Republicans to oust two state Supreme Court Justices has created dissention in the ranks of the party, and could lead to a showdown at this week's semiannual convention in Burlingame. The Los Angeles Times reports that Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Ming Chin, both of whom "will be on the November ballot," have aroused the ire of anti-abortion activists in the party over a controversial 1997 decision which overturned a "1987 statute requiring minors to get parental approval for an abortion." Anti-abortion forces have galvanized in an attempt to pass a resolution this weekend calling on the party to come out against the judges in the elections. This move comes after a failed attempt to place a parental-consent constitutional amendment initiative on the November ballot. "[S]ome party leaders hope to put off a decision until after the court decides another explosive issue -- two cases dealing with whether the Boy Scouts must admit boys who are atheists, or gays as troop leaders."
Moderate forces, led by Gov. Pete Wilson, "who appointed George and Chin, [hope] to blunt opponents' campaigns by winning an endorsement for the justices." The Times reports that "[m]uch of the GOP leaders' motivation to shut down the anti-court campaign is linked to the race for governor." Republicans are concerned about polarizing the party so soon before the race, thus hurting Attorney General Dan Lungren's (R) chances. Compounding the situation even further, "the next governor would appoint any replacements for the Republican jurists." Therefore, should the internal fight cause Lungren to lose, the GOP would be left with two liberal judges, instead of two moderate Republicans. Lungren, for his part, said he prefers "a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee parents a say over whether their daughters have an abortion" (Morain, 2/20).