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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 29, 2003

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

National Abortion Federation Calls for a Halt to Partisan Court-Packing, Urges Senators to Protect Independence of the Courts

WASHINGTON, DC-The National Abortion Federation today urged the Senate leadership and the White House to call off plans to move ahead on a number of divisive judicial nominations this week.

"This attempt to ram a flotilla of ideologues through the Senate makes clear that the GOP leadership and the White House are determined to play politics with the federal judiciary, no matter what the cost to the American people," said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF).

The Senate is expected to take up the highly controversial nominations of Priscilla Owen, Miguel Estrada, Bill Pryor and Carolyn Kuhl, on successive days this week. All have extreme ideologies that are well out of step with mainstream Americans. Senator Orrin Hatch, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, has announced plans to hold hearings this week on Henry Saad, a nominee to the 6th Circuit. Hatch's plans ignore long-standing bipartisan Senate tradition by steamrolling over objections by Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, who represent Saad's home state of Michigan.

"This latest power grab by the White House and GOP leadership is a direct threat to a centuries-old system that has ensured that the federal courts stand as a neutral bulwark against shifting political tides," Saporta said. "Federal judges are entrusted with fairly interpreting the law for all Americans - this week's maneuvers are an attempt to pack the courts with extreme ideologues and undermine the independence of our courts."

NAF, together with 17 other organizations, today called for the creation of a bipartisan commission that would respect the Senate's historic and important role in the confirmation process, and assure the public that the confirmation process is fair.

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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