Owen Filibuster Continues, Votes Planned for Estrada, Kuhl, Pryor
As President Bush continues to nominate far-right candidates to fill federal judgeships, Senate Republicans are adding Miguel Estrada and Carolyn Kuhl to their list of planned votes on the Senate floor this week. A vote on right-wing nominee William Pryor is also planned before the Senate begins its summer recess next week and a vote on Priscilla Owen was held today.
With a vote of 53-43, Senate Democrats continued to hold a filibuster against Owen, President Bush's nominee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Owen, who was renominated despite her rejection by the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee last year for her consistently anti-women's rights and anti-workers' rights rulings, has been up for three cloture votes - all three have failed.
Democrats could filibuster Kuhl and Pryor as well, bringing the total number of filibusters against judicial nominees to four - compared to a total of 140 nominations approved by the Senate during Bush's term. "Democrats have stopped two of President Bush's nominees, Republicans stopped 60 - six zero - of President Clinton's," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Kuhl, who has been nominated to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in May despite opposition from both California senators. Pryor, a far-right extremist nominated to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, is scheduled for a floor vote after being approved by a party-line vote in committee just last week.
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. . . .