Senate Democrats defeated the fourth cloture vote today with a vote of 55-44, maintaining a two-month filibuster against Miguel Estrada. Estrada was nominated by President Bush to serve on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, considered to be the most influential appeals court in the nation. Democrats say the filibuster will only end when Estrada reveals his views on critical issues such as abortion and civil rights. Democratic Senators have argued that his refusal to answer questions about his views impedes the Senate from having the information necessary to carry out its constitutional “advise-and-consent” duties in confirming presidential appointments.
Yesterday, the Senate approved with a 58-41 vote the nomination of Timothy Tymkovich, former Solicitor General of Colorado, for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Tymkovich has been a strong opponent of women’s rights, abortion rights and gay rights. He has argued that the state of Colorado should not have to provide Medicaid funds to Colorado women seeking abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. In addition, Tymkovich defended the state’s anti-gay Amendment 2, which later was invalidated by the US Supreme Court. Tymkovich argued that Amendment 2 only prohibited “special rights” for gay and lesbian individuals and cited statistics that showed that gay and lesbian individuals “have higher incomes than heterosexual individuals and claimed, therefore, that there was no need for anti-discrimination protection,” according to the AAUW.
The Feminist Majority joins a wide variety of women’s rights, civil rights, consumer rights, environmental, labor, gay rights, and other progressive groups in opposing the confirmations of Estrada and Tymkovich.