POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE V TWO OPEN SEATS will be filled on the Supreme Court in 1990, in political races that are as important as the gubernatorial election. Justices C.L. Ray and Franklin Spears have announced that they will retire from the nine-member court. Scrappy Holmes, a Longview trial lawyer was first to announce for the seat that Ray now holds. Holmes has served as director of the State Bar Association and president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Joining Holmes in the race to replace Ray is Ross Sears, a Houston appellate judge, and Bob Gammage, an appellate court judge serving in Austin. Gammage has also served in Congress. Running for Spears’s seat is Fred Beiry, a judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Antonio. NOW IMPORTANT is the Supreme Court? Some will remember Governor Bill Clements’s press conference the day after the last general election, when Clem ents gathered Nathan Hecht, Eugene Cook, and Tom Phillips, and altogether ignoring the independence of the judiciary said “with cans had begun to turn the court around. Senator Phil Gramm agrees, only now the target is workers’ compensation. In his advice to legislators back home in Texas, Gramm told the Quorum Report, a businessoriented newsletter published in. Austin: “I think it’s very important that we pass the Workers Comp Reform. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t talk to representatives of some big company about coming to Texas. And I tell them about the fact that we believe in free enterprise, the people work hard for a living, that we have a state government that understands that profit is not a dirty word. I give them my full pitch. “Two years ago they used to say, ‘Well what about that Supreme Court?’ We have helped that situation. But now they say, `What are you going to do about Workers Comp?'” V FORMER PUC Commissioner Peggy Rosson has announced that she will challenge El Paso Senator Tati Santiesteban in the Democratic Primary. Rosson, an articulate pro-consumer activist, who was appointed to the conunission by Mark White could prove a formidable candidate for Santiesteban, who is facing personal financial difficulties and who has not faced an opponent for some time. ARMANDO GUTIERREZ enters the state treasurer’s race with an endorsement from Jesse Jacksonk on whose campaigns Gutierrez worked in 1984 and 1988. Jackson promised to campaign for Gutierrez during the next few months. Gutierrez has served as an advisor to two Mexican Presidents, worked as a political science professor and a political consultant. Record Returns NO ONE disputes that as a Houston Congressman 3rd Court of Ap peals Justice Bob Gammage voted consistently to restrict the availability of abortions to the poor. According to one count, Gammage voted almost 20 times to restrict funding for abortions. Ganunage’s voting record in Congress where he served one term from 1977 to 1978 has become an issue. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Webster decision, the abortion issue has the potential to influence the outcome of any major statewide race. Justice Gammage is seeking a seat on the Texas Supreme Court. Reached at his Austin office, Gammage insisted that his votes in Congress do not reflect his politics. He said he is committed to a woman’s right to choose an abortion and as a judge has stood up for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised. “I’ve never been anti-choice,” he said. “I think I was in error in the way I voted at that time.” But an analysis of Gammage’s voting record on abortion rights obtained by the Observer paints a picture of a politician who appears to have joined hands with the likes of Illinois Rep. Henry J. Hyde, the staunch Republican opponent of federal funding for abortions. In a vote typical of his record, Gammage voted for a Hyde amendment to a 1978 appropriation bill that would have prohibited the use of federal funds to pay for abortions or to promote or encourage abortions. Federal funding for abortions was as controversial ten years ago as it is today. The language of the amendment was reworked and voted on several times. Almost every time a new vote was taken, Gammage didn’t back off from his support of restrictions. Gammage even voted against a measure to provide federal funds in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. This amendment would have also provided federal money in cases where “severe and long-lasting physical health damage to the mother would result if the pregnancy were carried to term, when so determined by two physicians,” and for “medical procedures necessary for the victims of rape and incest, when such rape or incest has been reported promptly to a law enforcement agency or public health service.” Gammage noted, “At that time, I simply concluded that the right I advocated was a matter of policy and did not require federal public financial subsidy. It later became obvious to me that without the ability to exercise a legal right, it might as well just not exist for the individual. Those votes were a mistake. I’ve never been opposed to a person’s right to choice.” ASKED HOW he could misjudge the relationship of federal funding to the availability of abortion, Gammage said he didn’t fully understand this connection. “I didn’t perceive it in the depth that I should have.” It was that lack of understanding that helped shape his voting record. “I simply hadn’t thought the issue through sufficiently,” he said. Texas Supreme Court candidate Clifton “Scrappy” Holmes dismissed this explanation as “hogwash.” “My God was he alive during the ’60s?” he asked. Holmes said he is solidly pro choice, and the Longview trial lawyer said the abortion issue could be a factor in the campaign. “I have been one of those consistently progressive types,” Holmes said. “I’m one of those hairy ACLU types.” Whether Holmes is an ACLU type or not, Bob Gammage might have to come up with some fiery rhetoric on the abortion issue if he is to bury his record in Congress. This could be an issue that doesn’t go away with time. “That was 11, 12 years ago,” he said of his vote. ” It was many, many years ago.” A.F. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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