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Cranston Says He Will Oppose Thomas in Vote

From a Times Staff Writer

Saying he is “deeply disturbed by Judge Thomas’ easy disavowal” of positions he previously held strongly, Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) Sunday became the first senator to announce he will vote against confirming Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

Cranston, in a statement issued from San Diego, predicted that he will be joined by many more than the eight senators who voted with him in opposing confirmation of Justice David H. Souter nearly a year ago.

Nevertheless, in an interview, Cranston said he expected Thomas to win approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee when it votes as soon as Friday, and of the full Senate. But he estimated that opposition to Thomas in the 100-member Senate may be “in the 20s or 30s.”

Thomas “has embraced the Souter syndrome of silence in response to important questions, the answers to which the Senate has a right to know,” Cranston said. “Ironically, he did so after asking the Senate to ignore his past statements and writing and to judge him solely on his testimony.”

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Cranston said that, although he did not believe that a nominee should be required to state how he will vote on a future case before the high court, “he should discuss his philosophy related to such issues.” Thomas did discuss his philosophy, but “stonewalled on a woman’s right to choice” on abortion, on privacy and on respect for individual rights, Cranston said.

Thomas’ statement that he had not discussed the 1973 Supreme Court abortion ruling in Roe vs. Wade with another person “defies belief,” the senator said.

“I find it impossible to advise and consent to a nomination when the nominee is not forthcoming during the very process which the Constitution says we in the Senate must carry out,” Cranston said.


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