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Far-Right Nominee Confirmed Bringing Total to 197

Yesterday, the Senate voted 70-27 to confirm far-right Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes to the Seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals bringing the total number of federal judicial nominees confirmed during Bush’s term to 197. While all opposing votes came from the Democratic caucus, Sykes had the support of 21 Democrats, including Senators Herb Kohl and Russell Feingold from Sykes’ home state of Wisconsin. The vote on Sykes’ nomination was part of the deal between Senate Democrats and the White House to vote on 25 “non-controversial” nominees in exchange for the President promising not to make any more recess appointments. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ranking Democratic Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, voiced his opposition to Sykes saying, “Justice Sykes’ record on the State court bench demonstrates that she has had difficulty separating her personal views from her judicial decisions.” Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) brought particular attention to Sykes’ misleading Senate Judiciary testimony. During the Committee hearing Durbin had asked Sykes why she had praised two anti-abortion extremists on trial before her for blockading a clinic even though they had a history of numerous similar arrests and then gave them unusually lenient sentences. Sykes responded that she was unaware of their criminal history at the time of sentencing, but one of the defendants had appeared before her six previous times and court transcripts show that as she was sentencing the men she said that they “obviously have a history of this kind of behavior” and noted that they were unlikely to stop. Senator Leahy also brought attention to Sykes’ evasion of questions about whether she thought Roe v. Wade had been decided correctly. He criticized Sykes’ ruling to deny a new trial in a case where one of the jurors could not understand English and called into question her record of ruling against workers and injured plaintiffs in favor of big business. The Feminist Majority joins a coalition of groups opposing Diane Sykes’ nomination as part of the organization’s overall campaign to protect the federal courts and call attention to the crisis of the courts being stacked with far-right, anti-women’s rights judges. Democrats have only blocked votes on a handful of nominees that they consider to have the worst, most egregious records on a whole host of issues. TAKE ACTION Urge Your Senators to Reject the Nomination of James Leon Holmes LEARN MORE about pending far-right judicial nominees DONATE to the Feminist Majority’s campaign to protect the federal courts and keep abortion legal

Sources:

Congressional Record 6/24/05