People For the American Way

The GOP War on Women: Judicial Edition

Earlier this year, President Obama nominated three brilliant jurists to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that many people call “the second most important court in the nation.”

It probably comes as no surprise that Republicans have already started laying the groundwork to obstruct their confirmation—but it has been infuriating to learn exactly why.

A recent article in Slate gives a flavor of the kind of attacks one nominee, Cornelia “Nina” Pillard is facing.

Cornelia “Nina” Pillard is President Obama’s pick for one of three vacant seats on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is a well-respected professor at Georgetown Law School; co-director of its Supreme Court Institute; a former lawyer at the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Justice Department; and a successful Supreme Court litigator.

She is also a “feminist.”

A “feminist” insofar as she has spent part of her career advocating for women’s equality (including a successful brief challenging the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute, and a successful challenge to gender-biased family leave policies). Pillard’s “radical feminism” appears largely to take the form of seeking equality for women, which would certainly be a disqualifying feature of her advocacy work. If it were 1854.

Happily for Senate Republicans, when it comes to women’s rights every year is 1854…

There’s no question that the attacks on this nominee are just the latest in the GOP’s longstanding war on women. It’s reprehensible, and it has to stop.

As the fight around judicial nominations heats up, the American people need to know exactly what it is that we’re fighting.


D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, gop obstruction, judicial nominations, Nina Pillard