Senate Approves (53-45) Another Right-Wing Extremist Judge
Less than 24 hours after the Senate voted to confirm extreme right-wing Judge Janice Rogers Brown to sit on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the Senate has confirmed yet another of President Bush's far-right nominees. William J. Pryor, Jr. was confirmed by the Senate today for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Pryor, like Brown, had been blocked by Democratic filibusters and then re-nominated by Bush. Pryor was confirmed on a vote of 53 to 45 with Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lincoln Chaffee (VT) joining with Democrats in voting no and Democrats Ben Nelson (NE) and Ken Salazar (CO) voting for confirmation.
Pryor is a staunch advocate of states' rights who has openly voiced opposition to women's rights and gay rights. He 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 confirmation hearings. As Alabama Attorney General, Pryor challenged the constitutionality of the Violence Against Women Act and later wrote an article stating that the federal government should remove itself from efforts to protect women against violence.
"In voting to confirm William J. Pryor, Jr. to the Eleventh Circuit today, the Republican controlled Senate has joined President Bush in sending a grim message that women's rights and and civil rights are in grave danger" said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority.
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. . . .