July 26, 2013 — Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday questioned one of President Obama's three nominees to the District of Columbia Circuit Court about her positions on various women's health issues, USA Today reports.
Nina Pillard, a Georgetown University law professor, is among Obama's three nominees to the appeals court for the D.C. circuit, an 11-seat court currently operating with three vacancies. According to USA Today, the court is considered the nation's second-most powerful.
During the hearing, Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah) asked Pillard about her stances on abortion, contraception, sex education and religious freedom. They cited articles and speeches in which she raised questions about some tactics of abortion protesters, the constitutionality of abstinence-only sex education classes that include sex stereotypes for boys and girls, and the right of churches to fire ministers.
Cruz told Pillard that her "views may well be considerably out of the mainstream," a charge that Republicans have used in the past to block some of Obama's other nominees.
However, Democrats defended Pillard's qualifications for the appointment, citing her previous work preparing lawyers for arguments before the Supreme Court (Wolf, USA Today, 7/24).