Following the Senate confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court by a vote of 58-42, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal issued the following statement:
The confirmation of Samuel Alito to the seat of Sandra Day O’Connor must be a wake-up call for American women. After the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, several Senators lost their seats, and the number of Democratic women in the Senate quadrupled from one (Barbara Mikulski) to five (with the addition of Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Carol Moseley Braun, and Patty Murray) Ð a true breakthrough.
With the confirmation of Samuel Alito, women’s rights, especially our right to access contraception and abortion, affirmative action, and sex and race anti-discrimination law, are in grave jeopardy. The consequences of the Republican stacking of the Supreme Court with reactionary judges will tragically remind Americans again and again of these bleak days for social justice.
Fifty-eight Senators turned their backs on progress for women and civil rights for all people. People, especially women, concerned with progress for human rights must be a significant force to change the current balance of the Senate. Women cannot take a backseat but must be in the leadership of this change.