JANUARY 19, 2006
2:48 PM

CONTACT: National Organization for Women
Lisa Bennett, 202-628-8669, ext. 123; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Urges Senate Filibuster of Alito Nomination
Supporters of Women's Rights Must Block Confirmation of Samuel Alito

WASHINGTON - January 19 - National Organization for Women President Kim Gandy today sent a letter to senators of both parties who have held themselves out as supporters of women's rights, reminding them of the danger posed by Judge Samuel Alito and asking them to wage a filibuster in opposition to his nomination.

Considering Senate Republicans' consistent record of voting in lock-step for Bush's judicial nominees, Alito likely has all 55 of those votes sewn up, but we continue to hold out hope for a rare glimpse of independence. Nonetheless, that places the responsibility for protecting women's rights squarely on the Democrats, who must rise to the occasion and use their prerogative to require sixty votes—the filibuster.

"Yes, we all know the numbers, and the reality of the imbalance of power," Gandy wrote. "But the lives, hopes, and futures of our girls and women, our hard-working families, our seniors, our children, our neighbors who face physical, mental and economic challenges, depend on you."

Gandy reminded senators of Alito's reversal of the Family and Medical Leave Act, his refusal to hold a school responsible for sexual harassment, and his memorandum mapping out the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

"Your commitment to women's rights is hollow if you will not fight to preserve them," Gandy wrote to senators. "NOW, with our legions of everyday supporters who are the 'foot soldiers' in our fight to protect our democracy and basic rights, finds just about ALL of Judge Alito's record, writings, decisions and remarks 'unsettling.' We believe that this nomination and its threat to privacy and autonomy and decency and respect for all of us is cause for a declaration of 'extraordinary circumstances' and a Senate filibuster."

The Supreme Court's opinion in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England gives women's rights supporters even greater reason to believe that Samuel Alito is the wrong justice for a court whose mission is to preserve fundamental constitutional rights and liberties.

Gandy responded to that decision: "Yesterday the Supreme Court sidestepped a substantive decision in Ayotte, yet we know that the issue of abortion exceptions to preserve the woman's health will come back to the Court. If Samuel Alito is on that Court, we have every reason to believe that he will tip the balance against clear protection for our lives and health. The looming threat of this confirmation is terrifying."