Senate Committee Approves Kuhl; Democrats Block Estrada and Owen
In a strict party-line vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 yesterday to approve President Bush's nomination of Carolyn Kuhl to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for consideration by the full Senate. Kuhl, a far-right ideologue from California, was approved despite opposition from both of both California senators. "My vote on this nomination is due to a lack of certainty...on matters of intense importance to people of the Ninth Circuit," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the judiciary committee's sole woman member. "In my judgment, I can have no certainty that these deeply held views will not resurface."
Carolyn Kuhl has a long history of opposing women's rights. During her tenure as Deputy Solicitor General in the Reagan Administration's Justice Department, Carolyn Kuhl advocated the overturn of Roe v. Wade. During this period, Kuhl also was one of the principal authors of a brief opposing the woman who was a victim of sexual harassment and siding with the employer in the landmark Meritor Savings Bank case. In 2001, as a judge on the LA Superior Court, Kuhl dismissed a lawsuit brought by a breast cancer survivor against a pharmaceutical company for invasion of privacy after a sales representative for the company stood in on a breast exam without her consent. This dismissal has caused some Republican Senators to express concern over Kuhl's nomination. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) said that while he would vote for Kuhl in committee, he had not decided how he would vote when her nomination was considered by the full Senate. In addition, "Senate aides said one or more of the four Republican women senators might have reservations about confirming her," the New York Times reported.
In other judicial news, Senate Democrats continued to hold the line on filibusters against Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen - with Republicans failing to garner cloture votes for the sixth time on Estrada and the second time on Owen. However, in observation of the second anniversary of President Bush's original judicial nominations, Republicans stepped up their efforts to stop filibusters against judicial nominees - despite the fact that 123 of Bush's nominees have been approved and only two are being filibustered, while 55 of Clinton's nominees never even got a hearing. "There is a desperate need now for moderate judges and for less partisanship in the nominating process," Columnist E.J. Dionne wrote in the Washington Post. "If Bush were willing to reach out and consult with his opponents, the judicial wars would end. Until that happens, the filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base."
Media Resources: Feminist Majority 5/8/03; New York Times 5/9/03; Washington Post 5/9/03; Associated Press 5/8/03; LA Times 5/9/03
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .