Civil Rights Coalition Criticizes Senate Confirmation

Media 11.19.02

Washington – Wade Henderson, Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a coalition of over 180 national organizations dedicated to the protection and advancement of civil rights and liberties, today expressed his deep disappointment at the Senate vote confirming the nomination of Dennis Shedd to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

“Dennis Shedd is the latest example of President Bush’s campaign to pack the federal judiciary with individuals whose views are far outside America’s mainstream,” said Henderson. “Regardless of the outcome of the election, there is no presidential mandate for a right-wing judiciary. Shedd’s approval by the Senate is a blow to the interests of civil rights and civil liberties.”

“For many years, the federal courts have been an important bulwark for safeguarding civil rights and liberties, the rights of workers, and environmental protections,” Henderson added. “However, President Bush’s effort to appease his right-wing supporters has led him to put forward nominees like Dennis Shedd, who will use his life-time appointment to roll back the clock on civil rights.”

“Dennis Shedd’s eleven years on the federal district court in South Carolina are a sorry record replete with hostility toward plaintiffs in civil rights cases, including minorities, women and persons with disabilities; a desire to limit Congress’s authority to enact proactive legislation that is applicable to the states; and insensitivity to issues of race. Judge Shedd’s views on these issues renders him a poor choice for the Fourth Circuit,” said Henderson.

“Senators who voted to confirm Dennis Shedd sent a clear signal to women, racial minorities, workers, and consumers across America that their voices will not be heard. The message is that nominees who are hostile to civil rights, women’s rights, and Congress’s authority to protect those rights, will get lifetime appointments where they can limit or even roll back progress on civil rights and civil liberties,” continued Henderson.

“At LCCR we will continue to fight to ensure that individuals confirmed to the federal courts are committed to the protection of equal opportunity, individual rights, and fundamental freedoms. We know the American people want moderate federal judges who will fairly interpret the law based on judicial precedent and common sense –not judges with a right-wing agenda who will decide cases that will undermine civil rights protections for all Americans,” concluded Henderson.