Bush Makes Second Recess Appointment of Right-Wing Judicial Nominee
For the second time this year, President Bush bypassed the Senate by appointing a filibustered judicial nominee while Congress was in recess. In a move designed to attract little attention, Bush on Friday afternoon appointed Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor has openly voiced his opposition to women's rights and gay rights, 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." He reaffirmed these statements at his Senate hearing. With the urging of a coalition of women's rights, civil rights, and lesbian and gay rights organizations, including the Feminist Majority, Senate Democrats had been filibustering Pryor's nomination.
"It is outrageous that Bush has again circumvented the legal process to appoint a right-wing judicial activist during a Congressional recess," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "This further demonstrates his total disregard for the women of this country and democracy in general." Under the rules governing recess appointments, Pryor will only serve until the fall of 2005.
In January, Bush bypassed the Senate and appointed Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Senate Democrats had also been maintaining a filibuster against Pickering. Opposed by the Feminist Majority and other women's and civil rights groups, Pickering, as a state Senator, supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and chaired the subcommittee of the National Republican Party that in 1976 approved a plank calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to make abortion illegal. Pickering has opposed the Equal Rights Amendment and as a district court judge, criticized remedies provided by the Voting Rights Act to redress discrimination against African-American voters. Also as a federal district judge, Pickering attempted to intercede in a case to reduce the sentence of a convicted cross burner.
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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .