WASHINGTON, DC Ð “Carolyn Kuhl has made a career out of turning back the clock on women’s rights,” Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, said today as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepared to vote on Kuhl’s nomination to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Joining together with a broad coalition of women’s rights, civil rights, labor rights and environmental groups, Smeal urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Carolyn Kuhl and continue to oppose President Bush’s campaign to stack the courts with right wing judges.
“It is not easy for me to oppose a woman. However, from the time she began her legal career as a young staffer in the Reagan Justice Department to her current position on the LA Superior Court, Carolyn Kuhl has consistently turned her back on women’s rights,” Smeal said.
During her tenure as Deputy Solicitor General in the Reagan Administration’s Justice Department, Carolyn Kuhl helped write a brief advocating the overturn of Roe v. Wade. Kuhl’s writings were characterized by her supervisor, then Solicitor General Charles Fried, as the “most aggressive memo” in favor of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Moreover, during this period, she was one of the principal authors of a brief opposing the woman who was a victim of sexual harassment and siding with the employer in the landmark Meritor Savings Bank case.
As an attorney in private practice, Kuhl proved that her opposition to reproductive rights extends even to contraception. She filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Academy of Medical Ethics in support of the gag rule on Title X funds – which prohibits recipients of federal family planning funding from providing counseling or referrals for abortion.
During her Senate committee hearings last month, Kuhl tried to retract a ruling she made as a judge on the LA Superior Court. In 2001, she dismissed a lawsuit brought by a breast cancer survivor against a pharmaceutical company for invasion of privacy after a sales representative for the company stood in on a breast exam without her consent. In her ruling, Kuhl described the incident as “nothing more than a situation that [the patient] found socially uncomfortable.” She went on to say that “because [the patient] did not ask questions and object, she lost her right to privacy.”
The Feminist Majority is a member of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary – a group of civil rights, women’s rights, disability, Latino, lesbian and gay rights and labor groups that is fighting President Bush’s campaign to stack the courts with right-wing judges. For more information on the Feminist Majority visit www.feminist.org.###