Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed its vote on the nomination of Dennis Shedd to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Shedd’s nomination has been opposed by a range of civil rights and women’s rights groups, including the Feminist Majority, because of his conservative stance on race discrimination cases and cases protecting the privacy of stalking victims. According to The State one member of the Committee, Senator John Edwards (D-NC), has said that he will vote against the Shedd nomination.
Shedd is a former staff member of Strom Thurmond, the Republican Senator from South Carolina. Thurmond has been a Senator for 48 years and is famous for his consistent opposition to civil rights, including his attempt to filibuster the Civil Rights Act of 1956 and his opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Thurmond strongly supported Shedd’s nomination.
With a limited record on reproductive rights, Judge Shedd has refused to say that he believes that the Constitution guarantees a woman’s right to choose. However, in 1997 Shedd did vote against the right to privacy that forms the basis of Roe v. Wade when he ruled against the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) – a law that protects women, abortion providers and others from violence by barring state department of motor vehicles from releasing personal information about an individual without their consent. Shedd has also characteristically ruled against plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases, gender discrimination cases and civil rights cases.