Bush to Stack DC Appeals Court with Far-Right Judges

In a continued effort to stack the court with far right extremists, the Bush administration plans to fill two seats on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that have been vacant for years. Throughout the 1990s, Senate Republicans rebuked efforts by the Clinton administration to fill those seats – claiming that the judges were a waste of taxpayer funds because the court saw few cases, according to the Washington Post. The DC Appeals Court, the second most powerful in the country, currently has four vacant seats and a total of eight sitting judges – four appointed by Democratic presidents and four appointed by Republicans. Bush is considering Douglas Kmiec, dean of the law school at Catholic University, for one of the open posts on the DC Appeals Court. Kmiec has “written extensively about the need to bring moral vision and the lessons of religion into law,” according to the New York Times. He has written that Roe v. Wade is a violation of natural law. “Roe v. Wade, which manufactured the right to kill the unborn, is perhaps the best example of where the natural law context of the Constitution has been most seriously offended,” he said, according to the Times. Bush has already named two nominees for the court – Miguel Estrada and John Roberts. Both were rejected by Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee but are expected to be approved in the 108th Congress under the new Republican Senate majority. Estrada has no record on reproductive rights, an absence of which the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights groups believe is cause for concern. He is a partner in the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm that represented Bush at the US Supreme Court during the 2000 post election legal fight. Roberts, who was first nominated by former President Bush, was a clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, former deputy solicitor general under Kenneth Starr and has been called “outspokenly conservative.” TAKE ACTION Stop Court Stacking


New York Times 12/10/02; Washington Post 12/15/02; Feminist Daily News 12/9/01; NARAL Fact Sheet: Miguel Estrada

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