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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .