Federal Appellate Court Nominees: Hearings Today, Vote Tomorrow
In an apparent effort to push the President’s federal judicial court nominees towards confirmation, the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee today held hearings on three of the most reactionary of Bush’s Appellate Court nominees. The consolidated hearing for Ohio Supreme Court Justice Deborah Cook, and federal appellate attorneys John Roberts and Jeffrey Sutton drew criticism from Committee Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) who called it ”just a tremendous rush to judgment,” according to the Associated Press.
John Roberts, nominated for the DC Court of Appeals, has signed a brief urging that Roe v. Wade be overturned. He has also argued against civil rights laws being used to protect abortion clinics from forcible blockades by anti-abortion extremists and opposed affirmative action for minority business contractors. Deborah Cook, who is nominated for the 6th Circuit, was endorsed by Ohio Right to Life during her race for a seat on the state supreme court. Critics point to her record, which consistently favors corporate over worker interests and includes a case where an employee—deceived by his employer about the exposure dangers to a toxic chemical at work—was prohibited from suing for his resulting injuries. Jeffrey Sutton, also nominated for the 6th Circuit, received the most scrutiny during the hearing’s morning session. Sutton has advocated excluding state employees from protection by federal civil rights law. In particular, he has argued that state employees should not be protected from age or disability discrimination under the American Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination in Employment Act, respectively. Sutton also opposes a provision of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), allowing women to sue their attackers in federal court. At the time of press, the committee hearing had not yet concluded.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on Miguel Estrada's nomination to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Estrada has not demonstrated a commitment to women's rights or civil rights and has refused to answer questions about his position on abortion rights or basic civil rights. During his hearing, Estrada was asked whether he thought Roe v. Wade, and Romer v. Evans (the case that struck down Colorado's anti-gay rights measure), were correctly decided. He declined to answer, stating that he had not read the briefs, listened to the arguments or researched the issues. He gave a similar answer when asked about Supreme Court cases in the areas of environmental protection and labor rights.
Following the Estrada hearing last Fall, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) stated: "I was hoping that the hearing would allay concerns that have been raised about this nomination, but I was left with more questions than answers after all of the steps Mr. Estrada took to avoid
answering questions at that hearing."
The Feminist Majority joins other progressive, feminist organizations in urging that Senators vote against the nomination of Miguel Estrada.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .