Senate Committee Approves Far-Right Judicial Nominee William Pryor
Far-right judicial nominee William Pryor, who has been described as "among the most extreme" of President Bush's nominees, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today in a 10-9 party-line vote. Pryor, who has been nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, has openly voiced his opposition to women's rights and gay rights and is a staunch advocate of states rights. "If he is confirmed, his rulings on civil rights, abortion, gay rights and the separation of church and state would probably do substantial harm to the rights of all Americans," the New York Times wrote in an editorial today. Democratic Senators also have raised questions about Pryor's truthfulness about involvement in fundraising activities for the Republican Attorney Generals Association.
Pryor has called 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." He reaffirmed these statements at his Senate hearing last month.
Pryor will next be considered by the full Senate where his nomination could be blocked by a filibuster. While the Senate's August recess is less than two weeks away, Senate Majority Leader Bill First (R-TN) told the Associated Press that Pryor and others could come up for a vote before the Senate adjourns. "Anybody who makes it [out of the Senate Judiciary Committee] will have a good shot of coming up before the recess," Frist said.
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.
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. . . .