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.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .