People For the American Way today joined the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund in opposing the confirmation of Miguel A. Estrada to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Senate Judiciary Committee Orrin Hatch has called for a vote on Estrada’s nomination on Thursday, January 30.
People For the American Way today released detailed analyses of the records and legal philosophies of Jeffrey Sutton and Deborah Cook, among the first Bush administration appeals court nominees scheduled for confirmation hearings before the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee on January 29. PFAW urged Senators to examine carefully both nominees’ records and to protect Americans’ rights and liberties by refusing to confirm them to lifetime positions on the appeals court.
The Senate Judiciary Committee was right to reject the confirmation of Judge Charles Pickering and Justice Priscilla Owen to lifetime seats on the federal appeals courts last year, said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas.
n March 14, 2002, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected President Bush’s nomination of Mississippi federal district court judge Charles W. Pickering, Sr., championed by Senator Trent Lott, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Committee’s decision to reject Pickering’s lifetime elevation to the powerful Court of Appeals followed an exhaustive examination of Pickering’s record, scrutiny that produced disturbing conclusions. Pickering’s record, both before and since he became a judge, demonstrates insensitivity and hostility toward key legal principles protecting the civil and constitutional rights of minorities, women, and all Americans. As a judge, Pickering in a number of instances has allowed his own beliefs to trump his responsibility to follow the law. And his decisions as a judge have been reversed on a number of occasions by conservative appellate court judges for disregarding controlling precedent on constitutional rights and for improperly denying people access to the courts.