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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-16-02

Women’s Groups Oppose Bush’s Latest Right-Wing Judicial Nominee; McConnell To Have Senate Committee Hearing Wednesday

The Feminist Majority joined several abortion rights, civil rights and other progressive groups in opposing President Bush’s nomination of Michael McConnell, a right-wing judicial activist, to the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals. McConnell, who vehemently opposes a woman’s right to choose, will go before the US Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for a hearing on his nomination. The Feminist Majority will join the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Abortion Rights and Action League (NARAL), People for the American Way (PFAW), Americans United For The Separation of Church and State and others at a press conference at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Washington, to inform both members of the Judiciary Committee and the public about McConnell’s record of ignoring legal precedent in favor of his own right-wing ideologies.

McConnell is the third in a string of right-wing activists nominated to lifelong federal bench positions by President Bush. Both Priscilla Owen and Charles Pickering, nominated to a position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, were rejected by the Judiciary Committee for their propensity to trumpet their own right-wing ideologies over the law.

“Michael McConnell has repeatedly shown himself to be a foe of women’s rights. He has openly declared Roe. V. Wade and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) to be unconstitutional. He has called abortion a grave social evil and said that embryos should be granted personhood under the law,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.

McConnell, currently a law professor at the University of Utah, is also known for his criticism of a Supreme Court ruling that took away Bob Jones University’s tax-exempt status because of racially discriminatory policies that included a campus-wide ban against interracial dating. McConnell is also cited for his desire to bring about a broad shift away from the strict separation of church and state. He also argues that a “right to privacy” and “personal autonomy” do not exist under the law, according to PFAW. In an explicit declaration of his judicial activism, McConnell said of a judge who acquitted two abortion protesters charged with violating FACE: “I am quite sure it was not lawful…Yet I cannot help admiring the judge’s act.”

Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 9/16/02; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 9/16/02; People For The American Way 9/13/02; NARAL 9/12/02


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