Fair and Just Courts

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."

Checks and Balances Still Intact -- Even During Breakfast

The White House will host a breakfast tomorrow for President Bush's nominees who have not been confirmed by the Senate. The group includes extremist nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal courts as well as nominees for other high-ranking, influential positions in federal agencies and commissions that require the advice and consent of the Senate. Many of the nominees are opposed by sitting Senators and by a broad range of watch-dog groups.

Judiciary Committee Sends Southwick to the Full Senate

In response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote to advance the nomination of Leslie Southwick to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas released the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and Senator Feinstein have advanced Leslie Southwick’s nomination to a powerful lifetime seat on the Fifth Circuit. It is incomprehensible that someone with such a disturbing legal record is being pushed toward confirmation.

Senate 'Fair Pay Restoration Act' Would Correct the Court on Pay Discrimination

PFAW Launches Ledbetter Web Video and Petition at CorrectTheCourt.com

Senator Edward Kennedy and a bipartisan group of fourteen of his colleagues have introduced the Fair Pay Restoration Act to vastly reduce the damage done by the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire. The sharply divided, 5-4 ruling left many workers who face persistent pay discrimination based on sex, race, religion or nationality with no legal recourse.

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