On November 14, following 39 hours of contentious debate on several nominees, the Senate voted 43-53 (4 senators did not vote) against cloture which would have ended the filibuster against the nomination of Judge Carolyn Kuhl to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. A vote of 60 is required to end debate. This is the first cloture vote on this nomination.

Judge Kuhlís nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 8, 2003 by a vote of 10-9 along party lines. A hearing on this nominee was held on April 1, 2003. Judge Kuhl is hostile to reproductive freedom and has a troubling record on federal enforcement of civil rights. She has been a vigorous advocate for overturning Roe v. Wade and supports giving tax-exempt status to a university that openly discriminates. NCJW opposes this nomination.


Who is Judge Carolyn Kuhl?

  • Judge Kuhl was born in 1952 in St. Louis, MO. She received a BA cum laude in 1974 from Princeton University and a JD in 1977 from Duke University School of Law.
  • From 1977 to 1978, she served as a clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy while he was a judge on the 9th Circuit. She became an associate with Munger, Tolles & Rickershauser in 1978.
  • In 1981 Judge Kuhl became a special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith, and in 1982 she was promoted to Deputy Assistant U.S. Attorney General in the Civil Division. In 1985 she was elevated to Deputy Solicitor General.
  • Judge Kuhl rejoined the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Rickershauser in 1986 as a partner.
  • In 1995 she was appointed a judge of the Superior Court for Los Angeles County by Gov. Pete Wilson.
      Why does NCJW oppose Judge Kuhl's nomination?

  • Judge Kuhl has a record of open hostility to Roe v. Wade. While serving in the Reagan Administration, Kuhl argued vigorously in favor of asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in the 1986 case Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. According to her former boss, Solicitor General Charles Fried, Kuhlís was ďthe most aggressive memoĒ supporting a reversal of Roe. Roe survived and the Pennsylvania law was struck down, but by only a 5-4 vote.
  • Judge Kuhlís views on the federal role in civil rights enforcement are far outside the mainstream. While at the Justice Department, she persuaded the Attorney General to reverse longstanding policy and award tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University while it barred its students from interracial dating. Her position was opposed by the Solicitor General, the General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury, and 200 Justice Department staff lawyers. The Supreme Court overturned the tax exemption in an 8-1 vote.
  • As a state judge, Kuhl dismissed a case in which a patient claimed her privacy was invaded when her physician allowed a drug company salesman to witness her breast exam without her consent. The appellate court reversed her decision, finding the privacy invasion to be serious.
  • Judge Kuhl is also a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group dedicated to reducing the federal governmentís role in protecting individual rights.

Who else opposes Judge Kuhl?

Alliance for Justice
Feminist Majority
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Abortion Federation
National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women and Families
Natural Resources Defense Council
People for the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Sierra Club
(list in progress)

Additional Information:

November 12, 2003
NCJW Denounces Senate Marathon Session on Judicial Nominations

February 26, 2003
NCJW Opposes Nomination of Judge Carolyn Kuhl to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

July 10, 2001
NCJW Launches Reproductive Rights Campaign with Challenge to Nomination of Judge Kuhl