Senate Committee Holds Hearing for Right-Wing Judicial Nominee
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on President Bush's nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The Feminist Majority joins a broad coalition of women's rights, civil rights, environmental, church-state separation, disability, and lesbian and gay rights groups opposing Pryor. Even the gay Republican Log Cabin group has come out against Pryor.
He is "one of the most dangerous judicial nominees of this administration that we've seen yet," said Ralph Neas, executive director of People for the American Way, according to Newsday. Pryor has denounced Roe v. Wade, the 1973 US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, as "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," according to the Washington Post. At a 1997 rally sponsored by the far-right Christian Coalition, he called the decision "the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children," according to the New York Times.
As a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, Pryor also is one of the architects of the so-called "state's rights" movement. For example, he has criticized the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Virginia, which ruled unconstitutional Virginia Military Institute's denial of admission to women. Pryor disparaged the constitutional rights of women, and denounced this decision, citing it as an example of the court's having been "both antidemocratic and insensitive to federalism," according to NOW LDEF. Pryor also submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Alabama in the Supreme Court case United States v. Morrison arguing that the civil rights remedy of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was unconstitutional, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
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. . . .