Washington is abuzz with speculation that Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Brown Clement is to be President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee, which the White House has announced this evening during a televised address at 9pm EST.
Pro-choice advocates will likely be relieved if Clement ends up being the nominee, as she has said on several occasions that she believes the Supreme Court has already spoken definitively in favor of abortion rights.
Judge Clement is supposed to be one of the few potential Supreme Court candidates on Bush’s short-list that would have a speedy confirmation process. Many top Democrats, including Harry Reid, speak highly of her. She’s had only a few controversial decisions to her name, but the few she has ruled on are quite telling about her penchant for justice.
Take a case last January in which Clement blocked a jury award for Rickey Brown who had been injured working on an offshore Texas oil-rig. Brown injured his back in the incident, and because he had not told his employer, Parker Drilling, prior to his being hired that he had previously been treated in an emergency room for a back injury (which had no relation to his injury incurred on the job), Clement felt that the company owed him nothing for injuries suffered while working for the drilling company.
In another telling Planned Parenthood case in March of 2005, Clement upheld a Texas statute that restricted the distribution of federal family-planning money to any organization that performed abortions or participated in abortion-related activities. She may not wan to repeal Roe v. Wade, but you can expect that she is all for restricting women’s access for such care.
Perhaps Clement’s most egregious decision came back in August of 2003, when she authored a dissent in which she argued in favor of denying class certification for a group of African Americans who wanted to sue several insurance companies for charging them more than white customers for the same life insurance policies.
Certainly Clement’s past decisions indicate that she is anti-worker and pro-corporate. Go right ahead and blame the Democrats if she’s confirmed, as it has been the Dems who’ve relegated to hoping that Bush’s nominee is not vehemently anti-choice. Instead the Democrats are likely to be handed a jurist that will help ensure that the Supreme Court will vote against any judicial challenge to tort reform legislation that might arise in the future.
JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the brand new book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, which has just been published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.