Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 along party lines to send to the full Senate the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Pickering’s nomination was defeated in Committee in March 2002, but Republicans, who now control a majority in the Senate, have decided to reconsider his nomination.
The Feminist Majority has joined a large coalition of women’s and civil rights groups to oppose Pickering’s nomination due to his anti-women and anti-civil rights history. As a state Senator, Pickering supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and chaired the subcommittee of the National Republican Party that in 1976 approved a plank calling for an amendment to the US 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. Also as a federal district judge, Pickering attempted to intercede in a case to reduce the sentence of a convicted cross burner.
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