Rehnquist Vacancy Creates Double Jeopardy for Women

Statement of NOW President Kim Gandy: "Senators Must Oppose Every Nominee Who Opposes Our Rights, for as Long as it Takes" September 3, 2005 Make no mistake. The passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist creates a crisis unlike any in my 30-plus years in the women's movement. While we send condolences to Justice Rehnquist's family, this is a crisis for our movement and we must act now. This second vacancy creates double jeopardy for women. We are now in the fight of our lives, but it's a fight we've won before and we will win again. Senators must oppose every nominee who opposes our rights, for as long as it takes ˜ and we must demand no less. We've watched the Senate repeatedly "go along to get along" with President Bush, and the results have been calamitous ˜ from a costly war that was based on lies, to breaking the federal budget so that the rich could have their tax cuts. And in my home state of Louisiana right now, we see the fatal consequences of both of those disastrous decisions ˜ the Army Corps of Engineers levee project budget was slashed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was stripped of its planning functions, the National Guard was shipped to Iraq, the divide expanded between rich and poor, and the people of Louisiana and Mississippi are paying price for this administration's absurd decisions and Congress' acquiescence. Have our senators learned anything yet? They've seen the damage that George Bush's policy of government-stripping has wrought in the executive branch (like putting an inexperienced crony in charge of FEMA and starting to privatize the agency) and now he has an unprecedented opportunity to mold the judicial branch for generations with a new Chief Justice and two new justices. Will they let him turn our highest court into another disaster for the American people? It's up to the legislative branch to find its backbone and "just say no" to nominees who will further harm our country. With two lifetime appointments, George W. Bush could not only upset the delicate balance on this Supreme Court, but also extend his right-wing ideology and disregard for individual rights to the third branch of government ˜ the judiciary ˜ thus guaranteeing second-class status for girls and women in the U.S. for decades. Senators must demand full disclosure of all of the writings and opinions of every nominee, and must commit to filibuster any nominee who does not clearly support our rights. ###