What: All Issues : Family Planning : Abortion : Full Senate vote on confirmation of President Bush's controversial nomination of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (2004 senate Roll Call 152)
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Full Senate vote on confirmation of President Bush's controversial nomination of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
senate Roll Call 152     Jun 24, 2004
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Loss

The Senate confirmed President Bush's nomination of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 70-27, with all of the opposing voices coming from among the Democratic party joined by Sen. Jim Jeffords, the chamber's lone Independent. The Senate Judiciary Committee had approved her nomination (14-5) on March 11. Opponents to Sykes' confirmation noted that Justice Sykes has expressed her support for demonstrators convicted of obstructing entry to abortion clinics and ruled against the rights of the accused, and that she refused to give her views on Roe v. Wade to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her confirmation vote by the full Senate came after strong criticism on the Senate floor from Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who condemned Sykes for having difficulty separating her personal anti-abortion views from judicial decisions. Progressives have charged that Sykes expressed inappropriate sympathy for two anti-abortion protesters while presiding over a trial in which they were convicted of blocking entry to a Milwaukee abortion clinic by binding their legs with welded pipes to the front of a car. During sentencing, Sykes commended the defendants for their "fine characters" and "pure" motivations, and expressed her "respect... for having the courage of [their] convictions and for the ultimate goals [they] sought to achieve" by their blockade. Sykes, however, was praised by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who called her a "careful, qualified jurist and not an activist."

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