The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on President Bush's nomination of Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. However, Senate Democrats are likely to delay the vote until next week. The Feminist Majority joins a broad coalition of women's rights, civil rights, environmental, church-state separation, disability, and lesbian and gay rights groups-including even the gay Republican Log Cabin group-in opposing Pryor.
At his confirmation hearing last week, Pryor spoke openly of his ultra-conservative personal views, defending earlier statements calling the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history," and "the day seven members of our high court ripped the Constitution and ripped out the life of millions of unborn children." Still, Pryor insisted he would "follow the law" as a member of the 11th Circuit Court. Senate Democrats remained skeptical, pointing to Pryor's equally disturbing stance defending so-called "state's rights." For example, he has criticized the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Virginia, which ruled Virginia Military Institute's denial of admission to women was unconstitutional. 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. He later wrote an article stating that the federal government should remove itself from efforts to protect women against violence. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "It's just not enough to say 'I will follow the law.' Every nominee says that, and then when they get to the bench they have many different ways of following the law," reported the New York Times.
Throughout his term, President Bush has been packing the federal courts with far right judges - all of whom will serve lifetime appointments. A broad coalition, including women's rights, civil rights, environmental, disability rights, and pro-choice organizations, has been fighting hard to protect the Circuit Courts of Appeals and key District Courts, but now with up to two of the nine Supreme Court justices are expected to retire this summer, many rights-including the right to safe, legal abortion-currently hanging by a 5-4 balance, may be overturned. Join the Feminist Majority online for our June Chat Series: "Supreme Court in Peril," featuring speakers from a variety of organizations speaking on civil, women's, workers', disability, and gay rights and the environment. Find out how you can get involved in the fight to protect the courts.
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. . . .