Yesterday, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a federal affirmative action measure designed to increase job opportunities for women and minorities in the broadcasting industry. The case highlights the importance of federal judicial appointments as the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft continues. A three-judge panel of Republican appointees (two nominated by Ronald Reagan and one by George Bush, Sr) called the affirmative action measure unconstitutional in this second federal decision since 1998 striking down affirmative action policies directed at broadcasters. Under the ruling, a company’s record on hiring women and minorities will no longer be a factor in deciding whether to renew a broadcaster’s license, despite the fact that statistics released yesterday show minority ownership of television stations at the lowest in a decade. The Bush administration has voiced opposition to affirmative action programs. Bush’s choice for Attorney General, whose role in refusing to confirm a black nominee for the Missouri State Supreme Court is under scrutiny today, would influence federal judicial appointments.