In an attempt by Democrats to ease relations with Republicans in the last days before control of the Senate shifts to the right, the US Senate Judiciary Committee approved two of President Bush’s anti-women’s rights, anti-civil rights judicial nominees today. Despite continued opposition from the Feminist Majority and other women’s rights and civil right’s groups, the nominations of Judge Dennis Shedd and Michael McConnell will next move to the full Senate for consideration where approval is considered likely, Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told the Associated Press.
Nine Democrats voted against Shedd, a former staff member of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC), who is famous for his consistent opposition to civil rights, while only one Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), voted against McConnell – who has consistently advocated for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade and declared the landmark abortion rights decision unconstitutional.
“I am trusting that Professor McConnell will not seek to undermine women’s reproductive rights,” Leahy said, before casting his vote in favor of the Utah law professor who signed a statement of pro-life principle and concern that calls for embryos to be considered persons under the law and applauded a judge for not following the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Leahy added that he was basing his decision on McConnell’s previous assurances that as a judge, he would follow the law as it currently stands.
If approved by the full Senate, McConnell would be granted a lifetime appointment to the Appeals Court for the Tenth Circuit, which includes Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Shedd would be given a lifetime position on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.