The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow morning on the nomination of far-right extremist William Pryor to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor, the latest example of President Bush's attempts to stack the courts with far-right ideologues, has openly voiced his opposition to women's rights and gay rights and is a staunch advocate of states rights.
"We believe that Mr. Pryor's demonstrated opposition to women's rights disqualify him for appointment to this, or any other court," Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, wrote in a letter to the Senate. The Feminist Majority joins a large 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. "From his record and actions, Mr. Pryor has made clear his extremist opinions and his willingness to use his position as Alabama Attorney General to advance his ideology regardless of the rights of others."
At his confirmation hearing last month, 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 - which is often the court of last resort for Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
Pryor also has argued against requiring the Virginia Military Institute, a state-funded school, to accept women as students. He 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. Pryor later wrote an article arguing that the federal government should remove itself from efforts to protect women from violence.
Pryor has compared homosexuality to prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, child pornography, incest, and pedophilia. As an espoused religious zealot, he supported the placement of a two-ton monument to the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of Alabama's Supreme Court building, which was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .