Fair and Just Courts

People For the American Way Joins Brave New Films to Deliver more than 125,000 Signatures Urging Congress to Hold Rove in Contempt

People For the American Way Press Secretary Drew Courtney joins Brave New Films and other activists to deliver 127,000 petition signers urging the House Judiciary Committee to hold Karl Rove in contempt for refusing to answer its subpoena. Courtney said, "For the last 25 years, People For the American Way has been fighting for the principle that the law applies equally to all people. Today, I’m proud to be joined by 127,000 people who want to put that theory into practice."

“Independent” John Sununu Rubberstamped 100% of George Bush’s Right-Wing Judges

In New Hampshire, the state Republican Party attempted to defend Senator John Sununu’s support of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito by calling Sununu “an independent voice for New Hampshire.” People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, “If John Sununu is an independent voice, why has he voted for every single one of President Bush’s most extreme judicial nominees? On the most important votes he’s taken confirming nominees to lifetime seats on the federal bench, he’s voted in lockstep with George W. Bush. He’s certainly distinguished himself as one of President Bush’s most loyal allies; he can’t reasonably be called ‘independent.’”

Sununu's Rubber-stamping Record on Judges

For years, Lilly Ledbetter was paid far less than the men in her factory for doing the same work -- and she proved it in court. But when the company appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a new justice nominated by George W. Bush and supported by New Hampshire Senator John Sununu wrote the opinion that denied her equal pay. Tell John Sununu we need judges who will protect workers -- not take our rights away.

PFAW Ads Target Sununu’s Record on Judges

People For the American Way will begin running radio ads next week in New Hampshire focusing on Senator John Sununu’s support of George Bush's ulta-conservative nominees to the Supreme Court, and releasing a web video with the same theme.

Big Win for Exxon at the Supreme Court

In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Exxon v. Baker drastically reducing a punitive damages award against the corporation arising out of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, People For the American Way Foundation president Kathryn Kolbert said, "The Exxon Valdez struck a reef 19 years ago, but the people and environment of Prince William Sound are still feeling its effects. The oil spill was an environmental and economic disaster of historic proportions. The punitive damages in the case should reflect that fact as well as the size and scope of the responsible corporation."

Obama Talks SCOTUS and Women

At an event today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Senator Barack Obama spoke about his support of the Fair Pay Restoration Act, which would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. That decision severely curtailed the right of women and other employees who are victimized by unlawful wage discrimination to obtain back pay. Senator Obama criticized Senator John McCain’s refusal to support the same legislation.

People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

People For the American Way Foundation Sues to Protect Church-State Separation

People For the American Way Foundation, along with a group of allies, today filed suit on behalf of six Florida voters to prevent two proposed state constitutional amendments from appearing on the November ballot. The proposed amendments would pave the way for sending public monies to religious and other private schools.

Supreme Court Rebukes Bush on Habeas Corpus in 5-4 Ruling

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Boumediene v. Bush People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, The Supreme Court has rebuked President Bush’s vision of the presidency as an office of limitless power, and declared that the president of a free nation cannot simply lock people up and throw away the key like some third-world dictator. This is a stinging blow to the administration’s lawless policies and its allies in Congress."

McConnell Throws Tantrum over Controversial Nominations, Holds Up Global Warming Bill

In response to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to hold up Senate business by requiring the clerk to read a 500-page amendment, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "Once again, the Senate Republicans are throwing a fit, demanding to have more Bush judicial nominees confirmed in the waning months of President Bush’s term. This time, they’re gumming up the works in the Senate with a parliamentary maneuver, effectively shutting down the Senate as it works on the global warming bill."

Why Is Norm Coleman so Proud of Putting John Roberts on the Supreme Court?

After Senator Norm Coleman bragged to the Minnesota GOP convention about the supposedly crucial role he played in winning confirmation for Chief Justice John Roberts, People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said “It’s hard to believe that Norm Coleman is actually taking credit for putting Chief Justice Roberts on the Supreme Court. Under Roberts, the Supreme Court has voted to: deny equal pay to a woman who was paid less than the men in her factory, strike down voluntary integration plans for public schools that wanted to bring black and white students together, uphold a ban on an abortion procedure with no exception for the health of the woman, and deny free speech protections to internal government whistle-blowers.

Supreme Court Issues Rare Pro-Worker Rulings

In response to the Supreme Court's rulings in CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries and Gomez-Perez v. Potter, People For the American Way Foundation president Kathryn Kolbert issued the following statement:

McCain Sticks to Bush Script on Judges

Sen. John McCain’s speech about judges today stuck to the script written by right-wing ideologues and followed by President George W. Bush. People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert said, "Here’s what McCain was really telling the party base: If you liked George W. Bush’s nominees, you’re going to love the judges John McCain will put on the bench."

The Specter of More Right-Wing Judges

Statement on judicial nominations by People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert:

"In the waning days of President Bush’s unpopular presidency, Senator Arlen Specter and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are throwing temper tantrums over judges. They’ve even repeatedly threatened to shut down the Senate — which would hold up crucial legislation as the economy teeters on the edge of recession — if they don’t get their way.”

"Senators McConnell and Specter conveniently forget that over 300 of President Bush's judicial nominees have been confirmed — a greater percentage than were confirmed for President Clinton. More importantly, the longstanding and bipartisan Senate practice known as the 'Thurmond Rule' dictates that only non-controversial judicial nominees should be processed in the months preceding a presidential election.

"Senator Pat Leahy, who has gone far above and beyond what is required as committee chairman, announced that three additional federal circuit court nominees would be confirmed in short order. But that didn’t suit McConnell and Specter. They’re simply not interested in mainstream nominees that can win bipartisan backing — not when there are political points to be scored. Instead they’re playing to the base by pushing three highly controversial nominees.

"Senator Specter apparently learned a lesson four years ago when he nearly lost a primary to Patrick Toomey, the handpicked candidate of the Religious Right and Club for Growth. Ever since, Specter has been a pit bull for right-wing judges. That’s bad for Pennsylvania and bad for America.

"Senators Specter and McConnell will continue their pressure tactics around judges, but Senate Democrats must stand strong. The clock is ticking for President Bush, but it’s already run out for his controversial nominees."

 

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People For the American Way has background information on the three controversial nominees being pushed by Specter and McConnell: Peter Keisler for the DC Circuit and Robert Conrad Jr. and Steve Matthews for the Fourth Circuit.

Coleman Tries to Have It Both Ways on Fair Pay

Statement by People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert:

“Senator Norm Coleman was against fair pay when it counted. He lined up with his Republican colleagues and voted to put President Bush’s nominee, Justice Samuel Alito, on the Supreme Court for life. Alito already had a track record as an extreme right-wing appellate judge. As a Supreme Court justice, he surprised no one when he authored a 5-4 opinion in Ledbetter v. Goodyear that made it easier for companies to pay discriminatory wages with impunity.”

Republican Senators Block Fair Pay

In response to the failed cloture vote on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007, People For the American Way president Kathryn Kolbert said, "Republican Senators made it painfully clear tonight that they take their marching orders from business lobbyists, not the American people. Congress had a rare opportunity in the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to reverse the destructive Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter vs. Goodyear. The House of Representatives delivered for workers, but Senate Republicans stopped it in its tracks."

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