Whose Afraid of Cornelia Pillard?

In June, Obama nominated Cornelia “Nina” Pillard to be a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Apparently, the GOP has an issue with her because she is a ‘Feminist’.

The Maddow Blog quoted Dahlia Lithwick on the issue:

She is a well-respected professor at Georgetown Law School; co-director of its Supreme Court Institute; a former lawyer at the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Justice Department; and a successful Supreme Court litigator.

She is also a “feminist.”

A “feminist” insofar as she has spent part of her career advocating for women’s equality (including a successful brief challenging the men-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute, and a successful challenge to gender-biased family leave policies). Pillard’s “radical feminism” appears largely to take the form of seeking equality for women, which would certainly be a disqualifying feature of her advocacy work. If it were 1854.

This episode has some of the same-old, same-old quality that has led most Americans to tune out the judicial confirmation wars as partisan and predictable on both sides. But to do so is to misunderstand the nature and basis of right-wing attacks on Pillard. She isn’t being condemned for what most Americans view as radical feminist activism. She’s being shellacked for academic and litigation work devoted to pushing for basic women’s equality.


From theblaze.com


Even with her opponents, some conservatives have come out to support Pillard. Former Assistant Attorney General of the United States Viet Dihn, now known as the founder of a conservative law firm, wrote in a letter of support:


As we do not share academic specialties, I have not studied Professor Pillard’s writings in full, but I know her to be a straight shooter when it comes to law and legal interpretation. She is a fair-minded thinker with enormous respect for the law and for the limited, and essential, role of the federal appellate judge– qualities that make her well prepared to taken on the work of a D.C. Circui judge.


Some of the notable court cases for the Harvard and Yale graduate include “United States v. Virginia (1996), which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Dept. of Social Svcs. v. Hibbs (2003), sustaining Family and Medical Leave Act rights against constitutional challenge.” 


http://www.lifenews.com complained that Pilliard made remarks such as, 

that abortion “free[s] women from historically routine conscription into maternity.” 


It sounds to me that she would be an excellent choice for the court.

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