Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Dianne Feinsten (D-CA) voiced her opposition to U.S. District Judge Charles Pickering, Sr., nominated to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Feinstein expressed concern that Pickering would not be able to set aside his “very strong right-wing views,” and added, “there is no mandate to skew the courts to the right.” A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein also anticipated “virtually unanimous” opposition to Pickering from Democrats on the committee. Such opposition would block Pickering’s nomination at the Committee level and prevent his nomination from reaching the Senate floor for a vote. As of today, the Judiciary Committee vote on Pickering has been delayed for at least a week.
Pickering has a history of opposing the rights of women and minorities. As a state Senator, Pickering supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He also chaired the subcommittee of the National Republican Party that in 1976 approved a plank calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make abortion illegal. Pickering has opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, and as a district court judge, criticized remedies provided by the Voting Rights Act to redress discrimination against African-American voters.
The Feminist Majority has joined a coalition of women’s and civil rights groups to oppose the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – already one of the most conservative courts of appeals in the country. The Fifth Circuit hears appeals from Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Feminist Majority will continue to oppose any judicial nominee to the federal Courts of Appeal who does not support women’s rights or reproductive rights.