The nomination of one of the most pro-abortion rights nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Barack Obama may be up for a vote as early as this week. According to Bloomberg News, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say she intends to force a vote this week on the nomination of Cornelia Pillard to the court.”
Georgetown Law professor Cornelia “Nina” Pillard’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month for a seat on the 11-member court.
Pillard, who was referred to by the liberal think tank Think Progress as “possibly the most significant feminist attorney to be nominated to the federal bench since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” could face a lengthy filibuster by Republicans because of her many radical positions.
Pillard has written and said many things wildly at odds with Church teaching, which call into question her fitness as a professor on a Catholic college campus, never mind for the court.
In a 2007 article that appeared in the Georgetown University Law Center publication titled, “Our Other Reproductive Choices: Equality in Sex Education, Contraceptive Access, and Work-Family Policy,” Pillard wrote that the right to abortion is necessary to help “free women from historically routine conscription into maternity.”
She also took aim at pro-lifers, saying,“Anti-abortion laws and other restraints on reproductive freedom not only enforce women's incubation of unwanted pregnancies, but also prescribe a‘vision of the woman's role’ as mother and caretaker of children in a way that is at odds with equal protection.”
Pillard also accuses those opposing the HHS mandate as guilty of “discrimination against women as a class of presumptive breeders.”
In addition, Pillard argued that abstinence-only sex education may be unconstitutional in public schools because it is“ permeated with stereotyped messages and sex-based double standards” and therefore “violates the constitutional bar against sex stereotyping and is vulnerable to equal protection challenge.”
It is likely that these strident viewpoints are the basis for the National Abstinence Education Association’s opposition to her nomination, which includes asking their supporters to petition their senators to vote against her nomination.
Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly questioned Pillard's position at Georgetown. He stated:
This is yet another embarrassment for Georgetown University. The reasons pro-life groups oppose Professor Pillard's nomination are even stronger reasons to ask why she has been teaching at a Catholic university.
Those concerned with religious liberty will find Pillard’s opinion on the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case to be problematic. The Supreme Court’s unanimous Hosanna-Tabor decision affirmed the right of religious schools to hire and fire without interference from the government. Pillard, according to Ed Whelan of Bench Memos, in a September 2011 press briefing for Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute, said that the case “strikes [her] as a strong case for the employee” and labeled the religious school’s position “a substantial threat to the American rule of law.”
Pillard passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a straight party line vote of 10-8.
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