Right-Wing Judicial Nominee Ducks Questions in Second Hearing
In what became a frustrating three-hour session for Senate Democrats, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a second hearing on President Bush's nomination of John Roberts to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. During the hearing held earlier this week, Roberts remained tight-lipped about his judicial philosophy. "You are making this an absurd process," Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) told Roberts. "I think there is something going on here when you're not willing to answer questions."
Roberts was already approved by the judiciary committee in February. However, Senate Democrats asked that he be brought back for an additional hearing because his February hearing was held along with Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook. Senate Republicans agreed to the second hearing if the Senate Democratic leadership agreed not to filibuster the Roberts nomination when it comes to the floor for a full vote - expected sometime next week.
Roberts, currently an attorney in private practice in Washington, DC, helped write a brief in 1991 that called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. He also has argued against civil rights laws being used to protect abortion clinics from violence, affirmative action for minority business contractors and the application of Title IX to the NCAA. During his hearing, he refused to tell the judiciary committee which three past Supreme Court cases he most disagrees with and he refused to describe which justices have the most divergent philosophies.
In response to direct questioning about Roe v. Wade, Roberts refused to characterize his opinion on the case - he instead told the committee that he would uphold settled law. "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land, it was even reaffirmed," Roberts said. "There is nothing in my personal views that would keep me from upholding it." Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told Roberts that his answers in regard to Roe v. Wade were evasive. "I need more," Durbin said.
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .