Orrin Hatch: Obama Speaking In "Code"

06/03/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON — A senior Republican on the Senate committee that will consider President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee says he's worried the president might pick a judicial activist instead of someone who bases decisions on the law.

Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah says Obama's comment last week about naming a justice who understands Americans' problems and has empathy for people is "code" for putting in place a person who legislates from the bench.

Hatch says he realizes the president will choose a more liberal person for the opening created by Justice David Souter's retirement. Hatch, a top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he expects the nominee to favor abortion rights.

Hatch spoke Sunday on ABC's "This Week."