Bush Renominates 7 Judicial Nominees Previously Blocked by Senate Democrats
On Monday, President Bush renominated seven of the ten judicial nominees that were blocked by Democratic filibusters during his first term because of their extreme right-wing records. An additional five of the 20 nominations sent to the Senate yesterday include nominees whose confirmations were slowed because of Democratic opposition to their ultra-conservative backgrounds. “The President is at it again with extremist judges,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, according to the New York Times. “We should not divert attention from other pressing issues facing this nation to redebate the merits of nominees already found too extreme by this chamber.”
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) has threatened to employ a “nuclear option” which would end the use of a filibuster on judicial nominations by requiring only a simple 51-vote majority. There are currently 55 Republican members of the Senate; it takes 60 votes to overturn a filibuster.
The judicial candidates renominated by Bush include William Pryor, who 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"; Janice Rogers Brown, who voted in favor of California's parental consent statute and voted against a ruling that would stop racially discriminatory speech in a work place because, she wrote, racist remarks at work are protected by the First Amendment; and William Myers, who was opposed not only for his views on reproductive rights but also because of his decades of fighting for the rights of cattle ranchers and the mining industry over the protection of the environment and the rights of Native Americans.
The Feminist Majority is part of a broad coalition of women’s rights, civil rights, reproductive rights, environmental, disability, and labor groups urging Senate Democrats to filibuster extreme right-wing judicial nominees.
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. . . .