(WOMENSENEWS)--The Senate is expected to approve two of President Bush's judicial picks whose nominations had been blocked by the Democratic-led Judiciary Committee over concerns about their positions on women's and civil rights.
On voice votes Thursday, the committee sent the nominations of District Court Judge Dennis Shedd and University of Utah professor Michael McConnell to the full Senate. The move represented an olive branch of sorts to the Republican Party, which will regain control of the Senate when the 108th Congress begins in January.
McConnell, who would join the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, has voiced his opposition to abortion rights. "Most Americans do not think that the fetus or unborn child is a nothing, that it's merely a piece of tissue," he said in a 1998 National Public Radio report. "Most people think that it deserves some form of legal protection."
Shedd, whom Bush nominated for a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., has denied female plaintiffs jury trials when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found reasonable cause that discrimination occurred, and when federal magistrates recommend that such cases go to trial. He also has been criticized by civil rights groups.
Conservatives plan to bring back other appeals court nominees that the committee voted down during the past two years. Among them are U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering and Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen. Both have supported laws that restrict abortion rights.
For more information:
Also see Women's Enews, May 21, 2001:
"Bush Picks Vocal Abortion Rights Foe for Judge":
Also see Women's Enews, August 28, 2002:
"Court Nominee Shedd Is Hostile to Women's Rights":