Two appellate court nominees opposed by the Feminist Majority and a wide range of women’s rights and civil rights groups are scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the New York Times reported today. The two nominees are Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Michael McConnell to the Tenth Circuit.
“It is crucial that we alert the feminist community to what is happening with the courts of this land,” declared Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority. “Already, we have lost the majority of circuit courts – they are being stacked with judges hostile to women and women’s rights. This will be a long-lasting legacy… these appointments are for life. Therefore, it is imperative that more moderate judicial appointments fill the empty seats.”
McConnell has repeatedly advocated the reversal of Roe v. Wade and has openly stated that he believes Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. He signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law. In addition, he applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).
With a limited record on reproductive rights, Judge Shedd has refused to say that he believes that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to choose. However, in 1997 Shedd did vote against the right to privacy that forms the basis of Roe v. Wade when he ruled against the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) – a law that protects women, abortion providers and others from violence by barring state department of motor vehicles from releasing personal information about an individual without their consent. According to the Charleston Chapter of the National Organization for Women, Shedd has also characteristically ruled against plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, gender discrimination cases and civil rights cases.