Fourteen years after first being nominated to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, controversial US District Court Judge Terrence Boyle will face a vote on the Senate floor. Boyle was first nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1991, but Democrats blocked the nomination, setting off a chain of events in which former Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) blocked Clinton-era appointees from North Carolina for eight years. Boyle had previously worked as an aide to Senator Helms. Boyle was voted out of committee on Thursday, meaning his nomination will move to a vote on the Senate floor.
Democrats have said that the party-line committee vote makes a filibuster of Boyle a possibility, although they have not said whether they intend to filibuster this nomination. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Boyle’s rulings have been overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals more than 150 times, and he has issued numerous opinions hostile to affirmative action, women’s rights, fair employment, and voting rights. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the Associated Press that he could not see approving the nomination, as “it really appears that he’s not a very good district court judge.”
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. . . .