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Statement by Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal

This historic vote on John Ashcroft for U.S. Attorney General sends a message to President Bush: “You don’t have a mandate to use the courts or the Department of Justice to reverse civil rights and/or women’s rights.” What’s more, 42 votes indicate this unprecedented coalition of women’s and civil rights, labor, gun control, environmental groups can and will block a hostile Supreme Court appointment.

In my 25 years as a women’s rights leader I have never seen such a strong, diverse citizens’ coalition to block a cabinet position. This coalition will continue to grow to ensure hostile appointments to the Supreme Court will not prevail.

I am very proud that 100 percent of the Democratic women Senators voted to stop Ashcroft and voted to protect the hard won gains of the women’s rights movement. Our constituents, members and supporters have spoken loudly and clearly, and they will be watching. Like the Clarence Thomas vote, the lack of women and minorities in the U.S. Senate is more apparent than ever. And like the Clarence Thomas vote, too many men in the Senate still don’t get it. And like the Clarence Thomas vote, because of their vote today some Senators will not be returning. And, if the moderate Republicans continue to ignore their constituency, their numbers will continue to dwindle.

This fight forced Ashcroft in sworn testimony to go on record that he will enforce Roe v. Wade, Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), and civil rights and women’s rights laws and we intend to hold him, the Senate, and the President accountable.

Media Resources: Eleanor Smeal, President, Feminist Majority



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