ABORTION: GOP Won’t Try To Oust Judges; Passes ‘Litmus Test’
"California Republicans struggled Saturday to prevent a potentially divisive internal debate over abortion and the future of two state Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn a law requiring parental consent for teenagers seeking to terminate pregnancies," the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. The "squabble over the justices ... took center stage" at the state GOP convention this weekend (Sweeney, 2/22). But the anti-abortion Republicans failed to "call for the removals of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George and Associate Justice Ming Chin." Instead, GOP leaders "will create a panel of lawyers to review the records of Supreme and appellate court judges and ... to recommend a party position on retaining those judges" in September Copley News Service/San Diego Union-Tribune reports. State Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Temecula) who will chair the committee, "said that if he has his way the panel in September will call on voters to take George, Chin and other 'activist' judges off the bench." However, moderate Republicans like Gov. Pete Wilson and gubernatorial hopeful Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) oppose the idea of removing the judges (Wilkie, 2/23). On Sunday, Lungren "won by voice vote the endorsement of the California Republican Party for his gubernatorial bid" (Capps, Sacramento Bee, 2/23).
However, "[i]n a snub of the party's gubernatorial front-runner, GOP activists Sunday adopted a resolution seeking to punish any state candidate who fails to oppose so-called partial birth abortions," the Los Angeles Times reports. Many party leaders oppose the "litmus test." However, Del. Greg Hardcastle (R-Folsom) said, "We're not talking about a litmus test. We're talking about a values test." The Times reports the "symbolic resolution urges the state party to change its rules to deny financial support and withhold other benefits to any candidate who does not support legislation outlawing the late-term abortion procedure" (Barabak/Lesher, 2/23). Those on Lungren's side argue the "litmus test" would "narrow the party's base," reports the San Jose Mercury News. Del. Sheila Carroll (R-Stanislus) said, "If we are to win in November, we must simply be a more inclusive party" (2/23).