Civil Rights Groups Urge Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject the Nomination of Dennis Shedd to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

Media 10.1.02

Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2002) – Twenty national civil rights organizations who oppose the nomination of Dennis Shedd to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit held a press conference today to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject this nomination. Scheduled for a committee vote this Thursday, October 3, Shedd’s nomination has drawn strong criticism from groups all over the country who believe that Shedd has demonstrated hostility in civil rights cases involving minorities, women and persons with disabilities.

Groups opposing the Shedd nomination include the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Alliance for Justice, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Congressional Black Caucus, NARAL, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Urban League, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Foundation of America, the California Women’s Law Center, the National Bar Association, the National Council of Jewish Women, the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers, Old Dominion Bar Association of Virginia, the South Carolina Progressive Network and the Wisconsin Legislative Black & Hispanic Caucus.

“We know that the communities that we represent and the American people want moderate federal judges who will fairly interpret the law based on judicial precedent and common sense – not activist judges who will decide cases based on their personal ideological goals to seriously harm civil rights protections for all Americans,” said Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. “The country and the 4th Circuit deserve better than Dennis Shedd.”

Other organizations at the press conference criticized Shedd’s judicial record, saying he has continually demonstrated a disregard for established civil rights laws.

“Judge Shedd’s membership to the Fourth Circuit would further radicalize a court that has practiced judicial activism in a manner that hurts racial and ethnic minorities and disenfranchised Americans,” said Kwesi Mfume, President & CEO of the NAACP.

Andrew Imperato, President and CEO of AAPD stated, “As a U.S. District Judge, Dennis Shedd has gone out of his way to undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).” According to Imparato, President Bush’s appointment of Judge Shedd is inconsistent with the President’s stated support for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All of the groups at today’s press conference remain committed to defeating the Shedd nomination and to opposing President Bush’s attempts to pack the federal judiciary with individuals whose views are far outside the mainstream of America.