WASHINGTON, DC Ð The Feminist Majority urges the U.S. Senate to oppose the Bush administration’s latest attempt to pack the courts with far-right judicial nominees with the nomination of Jeffrey Sutton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Sutton, a leading activist in the so-called “states’ rights” movement, has spent his legal career undermining the rights of women, minorities and the disabled. He has personally argued several key Supreme Court cases that have severely limited Congress’ ability to prevent discrimination based on race, age, disability and religion. As an officer for the Separation of Powers practice group for the ultra-conservative Federalist Society, Sutton has made no secret about his far-right extremist viewpoints.
“The Senate must continue to send President Bush the message that they will not approve judges that will take away women’s rights and roll the clock backwards according to a right-wing ideology. At this time of global turmoil, we don’t need extremists in the courts willing to make a Dred Scott decision in the area of women’s fundamental rights,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
Sutton has a limited paper trail on women’s rights and no proven record on reproductive rights. However, as a former law clerk and continued close associate of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the Supreme Court’s most vocal opponents of a woman’s right to abortion, and having successfully argued in United States v. Morrison against a provision of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 that allowed women to sue their attackers in federal court, it is not hard to discern where Sutton would stand if asked to rule on issues involving women’s rights.
Where Sutton has been the most vocal has been in the area of disability rights. Sutton has been a leading opponent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), going so far as to tell the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of University of Alabama v. Garrett that the ADA was “not needed.”
Sutton also has argued to limit Congress’ abilities to protect the environment, in one case suggesting that Congress did not have the authority to protect fragile wetlands from toxic dumping. He has advocated for limits to federal civil rights protections including the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits state or local conduct that has a racially discriminatory effect.
Overall, Sutton’s views are outside the mainstream. If appointed to a lifelong term on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, oftentimes the court of last resort for residents of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, Sutton could skew the balance of that court for years to come.
For more information on the Feminist Majority’s opposition to the Bush administration’s attempts to pack the courts with far-right judicial nominees visit www.million4roe.com.