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A powerhouse of the right flexes muscle

Roe v. Wade could be overturned within a decade, says the president of the Family Research Council.

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Despite prospects that President Bush will soon get to name one or more new Supreme Court Justices, the leader of a major Christian conservative lobbying group expects about a decade of struggle before state abortion laws change in a significant way.

"It is a long-term process," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Wednesday at a Monitor breakfast for reporters. It could take "8 to 10 years, once we have seen changes in the court, for that change to move across the country." He expects an anti-abortion state to pass a ban on abortion and ultimately have it upheld by a changed Supreme Court.

The Family Research Council describes itself as championing "marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue, and the wellspring of society." The Nation magazine, no fan of the Council, recently described it as "the Christian right lobbying powerhouse."

The Council's focus will continue to be on judges, even though the retirement and replacement of Chief Justice William Rehnquist would not change the ideological balance of the US Supreme Court. "It is when we get to a second nomination that the real battle takes place," Perkins said.

Ripple effects in Ohio vote?

While taking the long view on abortion, Perkins took partial credit for a short-term political victory. In a congressional primary in Ohio Tuesday, Pat DeWine took fourth place after having been the favorite. He is the son of Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, who supported a compromise - opposed by the Council - on judicial nominees.

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