The Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, a group comprised of the Feminist Majority and a number of civil rights, women’s rights, and human rights organizations, held a press conference today to express opposition to the nomination of Jeffrey Sutton, President Bush’s latest far-right judicial nominee, to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Sutton was nominated as a part of the Bush administration’s attempt to stack the courts with right-wing judges. As a strong supporter of states’ rights, Sutton has worked to limit Congress’ ability to protect the civil and constitutional rights of citizens. Sutton also is an officer of the Separation of Powers practice group for the Federalist Society, an ultra-conservative legal organization.
Sutton has a limited paper trail on women’s rights and no proven record on reproductive rights. However, as a former law clerk and continued close associate of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the Supreme Court’s most vocal opponents of a woman’s right to choose, and having successfully argued in United States v. Morrison against a provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that allowed women to sue their attackers in federal court, it is not difficult to discern where Sutton would stand if asked to rule on issues involving women’s rights.
Throughout his legal career, Sutton has especially focused his attention on limiting the rights of people with disabilities. Opposing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Sutton argued in the 2001 US Supreme Court case of University of Alabama v. Garrett that the ADA was “not needed.”
He also has worked to limit Congress’ ability to protect the environment – stating in one instance that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to protect fragile wetlands from the dumping of hazardous materials.