NCJW Disappointed by Committee Vote on Judge D. Brooks Smith

May 23, 2002, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed concern today at the action of the Senate Judiciary Committee in sending to the Senate floor the nomination of Judge D. Brooks Smith to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. NCJW President Marsha Atkind issued the following statement:
"The Senate Judiciary Committee took a step backwards today in the march towards justice for all when they approved the nomination of Judge D. Brooks Smith for a promotion to a lifetime appointment to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Smith has, in his decisions as a district court judge and in his speeches, shown hostility to women's issues, including the "Violence Against Women Act" which has won bi-partisan praise and support as an effective tool in the fight against domestic violence.

"We are especially surprised that the Committee would approve the nomination of someone who has reneged on his promise to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the past. During his confirmation to the district court seat he now holds, Judge Smith promised to resign within two years from a club that discriminates against women if they did not change their policy. The club's discriminatory policy remains intact, and Judge Smith only recently, 11 years after his initial promise, resigned. His membership in this discriminatory club, which run contrary to judicial standards, should have disqualified him from the seat on the appellate court.

"We hope that the full Senate will reject this unworthy nomination."

NCJW is a volunteer organization, inspired by Jewish values, that works to improve the quality of life for women, children and families and to ensure individual rights and freedoms through research, education and community service programs initiated by its network of 90,000 volunteers, supporters and members nationwide. It has launched BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, a national effort to educate and mobilize NCJW members, the Jewish community, and friends and allies everywhere to promote a federal bench with judges that support fundamental freedoms, including a woman's right to choose.