Bush Opens Drive for Court Nominee

By David S. Broder and Helen Dewar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, July 25, 1990

The White House launched the confirmation drive for President Bush's first Supreme Court nominee yesterday against a virtually invisible opposition and amid signs that David H. Souter will resist efforts to pin down his views on abortion.

Souter, the little-known, 50-year-old New Hampshire jurist named by Bush Monday to replace retiring Justice William J. Brennan Jr., continued to draw approving comments across the political spectrum.

"I think there's a positive feeling," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings in September.

President Bush told a GOP fund-raising luncheon in Philadelphia "there should be no litmus test in the process of confirmation," reiterating his statement that he had applied no such standard himself on abortion or any issue.

White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said Bush is moving quickly on the nomination because "we saw that some of the special interests -- on abortion, civil rights -- were going to try to cook up a stew that this nomination would get dumped into."

Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.), a close friend of the nominee, said the former New Hampshire Supreme Court justice had made it clear to administration officials that "if they had any litmus tests to apply, he was not interested" in the appointment he received from Bush earlier this year to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston or in being elevated to the Supreme Court.

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