Kerry Warns of Bush Appointments on Supreme Court

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) raised concerns on Friday that a second term for President Bush would lead to the appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices who would set back civil rights in America.

In a speech to the National Council of Negro Women (search), Kerry noted that six of the nine justices on the court will be over 70 by the end of the next term. He said it's likely some will retire, giving the president elected next year the power to appoint a new majority.

He said Bush has demonstrated "an unwavering commitment to refashioning the court in the ideological image of the far right."

"He's made judicial nominations red meat for the right wing, hoping the rest of the people aren't paying attention," he said three days before the court opens a new term.

Kerry said a Bush majority on the court could mean restrictions on affirmative action (search), hate crimes (search), abortion rights (search), the right to privacy and voting rights.

"If I am elected president, I will appoint justices with a broad understanding of American life today without drawing from any ideology, for the sake of ideology, people who have a commitment to diversity, fairness and equality," he said.

Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, repeated his pledge to attempt to block the nomination of any Supreme court nominee who would threaten those rights.

Democrats already have filibustered three of President Bush's nominees, one of whom dropped out after the GOP failed to break the blockade, and are threatening to filibuster a fourth.