Controversial Nominee Confirmed 55-44, Following Voice Vote in Senate Judiciary Committee
“Today’s Senate vote was very disappointing. Judge Shedd’s record of hostility and insensitivity to the rights of minorities, women and people with disabilities demonstrates that he should not have been promoted to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
“It is encouraging that 44 Senators were willing, on the last day of this extraordinary session, to vote against confirming Judge Shedd. Hopefully, these 44 votes are a sign that the Senate will not cede its role in the process of selecting federal judges and become a rubber stamp for presidential nominations. We urge President Bush to consult with the Senate to bring more moderate, mainstream nominees forward to fill federal judicial vacancies. However, if the president instead continues to nominate candidates like Judge Shedd, Democrats and moderate Republicans must oppose those nominations, and they must be willing to use all the parliamentary options at their disposal, including, when necessary, the filibuster.
“The appeals courts are the court of last resort for millions of Americans. These courts hear about 30,000 cases a year, while the U.S. Supreme Court hears fewer than 100. That gives these courts the final word for most Americans on critical issues concerning civil rights, reproductive rights, civil liberties, environmental protection, privacy, and religious freedom. This is why it is so important that the Senate carefully examine the nominees who come before them for the courts of appeals as well as for the Supreme Court.”