Twenty-four Groups Launch Unprecedented, Simultaneous TV and Online Ads Exposing Radical Views of Administration Judicial Nominees

Media 07.21,04

Today twenty-four civil rights, environmental, women’s, health, religious, gay and lesbian, and other organizations – representing over 5 million people – announced they have joined together in an unprecedented, simultaneous Internet and TV ad campaign to spotlight the extremist views and records of the administration’s judicial nominees.

The ad, which was produced by Haddow Communications, focuses on nine White House nominees selected for lifetime seats on the federal courts, including several now pending in the Senate. It asks citizens to call on the Senate to reject nominees who are out of step with the values and views of most Americans.

“The White House and some senators are grandstanding about ‘obstructionism’ of the Administration’s judicial nominees,” said Nancy Zirkin, deputy director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. “But, the record is unmistakable — the vast majority of this administration’s judicial nominees have been approved by the Senate. As this ad makes clear, American democracy requires fair and independent jurists, not ideologues who ride roughshod over our freedoms and rights.”

The groups will concurrently feature on their websites and air on television a new ad that explains, in the nominees’ own words, why they are unqualified to be federal judges and demonstrates how very far out of the mainstream they are.

“Keeping dangerous ideologues from getting powerful lifetime seats on the federal courts is not obstructionism, it is a constitutional obligation for U.S. Senators,” said Ralph Neas, executive director, People For the American Way. “We’re saying to the American people, there’s more at stake here than the President’s soundbites would lead you to believe. Judges who would be bad for the country and the Constitution deserve to be blocked.”

The ad highlights the nominees’ own statements, by which they admit to opposing laws that protect the rights of women, voters and people with disabilities, gays and lesbians, and their belief that the role of government is not to provide Social Security or protect public lands.

“Instead of nominating judges who are in the mainstream, the president continues selecting nominees who side with polluters, not communities,” said Melanie Griffin, director of Sierra Club’s Partnership’s Program. “Even though President Bush is trying to tar Senate Democrats as ‘obstructionists,’ senators have actually approved the vast majority of his nominees. Many of the controversial nominees barely received the American Bar Association’s approval and the administration is trying to pack the bench with these unqualified, extreme nominees.”

According to American University Law Professor Herman Schwartz, author of Right-Wing Justice: The Conservative Campaign to Take Over the Courts (2004), “President Bush has nominated the most ideologically rigid group of judges ever to the federal bench.”

The ad calls on the U.S. Senate to stand firm and not to confirm nominees like these who pose a large and very real threat to our fundamental rights and freedoms.

“We are working together to expose the administration’s court-packing plan,” said Alliance for Justice President Nan Aron. “This coalition ad illustrates some of the most extreme judicial nominees to come out of the White House and why their views are hostile to the rights and protections American’s cherish.”

“Judicial nominees like those featured in this ad threaten precious legal rights for women and the progress women have fought long and hard to win on reproductive rights, equal opportunity at work and in school, freedom from sexual harassment and violence, and in other key areas of their lives,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, National Women’s Law Center Co-President. “This ad campaign will help illuminate what’s at stake for women and all Americans, and encourage citizens to speak out against the nomination and confirmation of extreme nominees like these.”

“Nominees like Jeffrey Sutton, William Pryor, and Terrence Boyle will weaken and eliminate civil and human rights protections for tens of millions of Americans with disabilities,” said Jim Ward, president of the National Coalition for Disability Rights. “These extremists will use the federal bench to advance their radical agenda and undermine the progress people with disabilities have made on the job, in schools and at the polls.”

“This administration has shown that it will go to any length, violate any rule, and upset any precedent to pack the courts with anti-choice extremists. We must not allow these dangerous ideologues to make rulings over women’s reproductive rights and fundamental freedoms for a generation to come,” commented Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“The National Senior Citizens Law Center supports this ad campaign because some of these out-of-the-mainstream ideologues will use their power as judges to roll back landmark statutory guarantees of equal treatment, access to health care, and retirement security on which older Americans depend,” said Edward King, executive director, National Senior Citizens Law Center.

“We look to judges to protect our most cherished rights and it is through the decisions of judges that the law is made real for all Americans. As we commemorate such landmark anniversaries this year as Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we must move forward, not backward. The National Partnership for Women & Families urges Senators to carefully consider nominees, to support only those who demonstrate a balanced approach to the law, and to resist efforts to stack the courts with judges who do not respect the rights of women and minorities,” said Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women & Families.

American Association of People with Disabilities
American Association of University Women
Americans for Democratic Action
ADA Watch
Alliance for Justice
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFSCME
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Communications Consortium Media Center
Feminist Majority
Human Rights Campaign
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
Legal Momentum
NARAL Pro Choice America
National Council of Jewish Women
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Senior Citizens Law Center
National Women’s Law Center
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Sierra Club