Judiciary Committee to Vote on Far-Right Nominee Pickering

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Thursday on the nomination of far-right Judge Charles Pickering to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last year, the committee voted not to approve his nomination. Now, however, the committee has a Republican majority and is reconsidering this vote. The committee is expected to vote along party lines to send Pickering’s nomination to the Senate floor, the Clarion-Ledger reports. Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT), who normally votes with the Democrats, announced last week that he will not oppose Pickering’s nomination if it reaches the full Senate.

The Feminist Majority joins a large coalition of women’s and civil rights groups in opposition to Pickering’s nomination because of the Mississippi judge’s anti-women and anti-civil rights background. Pickering has a long history of voting against women. 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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Feminist Daily News Wire; Associated Press 9/23/03; Clarion-Ledger 9/24/03; Statement by Senator Jeffords 9/17/03

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