Obama Appoints Record Number of Women Judges to Federal Bench
On Monday, President Obama set the record for most women judges appointed to the federal bench in one term when Stephanie Rose was confirmed on a 89 to 1 Senate vote as a new U.S. District Court Judge in Southern District of Iowa. Obama has now appointed 72 women to federal judgeships. This is the same number of women judges appointed to the federal bench during George W. Bush's entire presidency. Notably, Rose will be the first woman judge in the District Court of the Southern District of Iowa.
In addition, President Obama has appointed numerous minority judges to federal bench. Thus far, he has appointed 29 minority women, 22 African-Americans, and three openly gay judges to the federal bench, surpassing former President Bush in every category.
Two of President Obama's appointments include Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who are both now justices on the United States Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the 111th justice, the third woman, and first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court. Kagan is the fourth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. Her swearing-in marked the first time in US history during which three women have served simultaneously on the Supreme Court.
Media Resources: DesMoines Register 9/10/12; Huffington Post 9/10/12; Feminist Newswire 8/9/10, Feminist Newswire 8/7/9
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .