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.
10/13/2015 EEOC Launches Hollywood Gender Discrimination Probe - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has contacted several women directors in Hollywood in an effort to determine whether legal intervention is necessary to disrupt the industry's discriminatory hiring practices.
In a letter sent to some 50 women filmmakers, the EEOC - which is responsible for protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin through enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - requested interviews with them to "learn more about the gender-related issues" women behind the camera face in both the film and television industries.
In May, following the release of a study by the San Diego State University Center for the Study of Women in Television in Film revealing only 7 percent of 2014's 250 top-grossing movies were helmed by women, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project urged state and federal rights agencies to investigate Hollywood's failure to hire equal numbers of women. . . .
10/12/2015 Report Finds Texas' HB2 Increases Abortion Wait Times - A new report released by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Policy Evaluation Project found patients seeking abortions in Texas have experienced an increase in wait times since the passage of HB2, the 2013 Texas omnibus anti-abortion bill that attempts to cut off abortion access by requiring abortion providers in the state to fulfill medically unnecessary ambulatory surgical center requirements and secure hospital admitting privileges.
More than half of 42 clinics providing abortion in Texas have been forced to shut their doors since HB2 passed two years ago, leading Texas women to wait up to 20 days for a first consult at one of the surviving 18 reproductive health clinics operating in the state, the second most populous in the nation. . . .
10/9/2015 Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Group to Cede Footage to NAF - On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its leader David Daleidan must turn over all previously unreleased "sting" videos and outtakes of National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings the group obtained surreptitiously as part of a smear campaign against the abortion provider.
U.S. . . .