Another Anti-Abortion Judicial Nominee Approved by Senate

Despite continued opposition from the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and civil rights groups, Dennis Shedd, President Bush’s nominee for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, was confirmed 55 to 44 by the US Senate yesterday. SheddÑa former staff member of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who is notorious for his consistent opposition to civil rightsÑis the 100th Bush judicial nominee to gain Senate approval, reported the Associated Press. Shedd will serve a lifetime position on already one of the most conservative courts in the country when it comes to civil rights and women’s rights, according to the Charleston National Organization for Women (NOW). As the court of last resort for South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals influences a region where 30 percent of its citizens are African-American. Yet, there is no African-American judge on the Fourth Circuit, Senator Dianne Feinstein noted before the Judiciary Committee voted last week. With a limited record on reproductive rights, Judge Shedd has refused to say that he believes that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to choose. However, in 1997 Shedd voted against the right to privacy that forms the basis of Roe v. Wade when he ruled against the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA)Ña law that protects women, abortion providers and others from violence by barring state department of motor vehicles from releasing personal information about an individual without their consent. Shedd has characteristically ruled against plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, gender discrimination cases and civil rights cases. “I am very disturbed by the high number of Shedd’s rulings for the defendant in civil rights and gender discrimination cases,” Kathy Moore, spokesperson for the Charleston NOW, said in a statement. “He is a young judge and his appointment will have a long lasting and devastating effect on women and minorities in the Fourth Circuit’s jurisdiction.” TAKE ACTION Protect a Woman’s Right to Choose


Washington Post 11/20/02; Feminist Daily News Wire 10/1/02, 10/9/02, 11/14/02; Associated Press 11/20/02

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