NCJW Disappointed by Confirmation of Judge D. Brooks Smith

August 1, 2002, Washington, DC -- Responding to the Senate confirmation of Judge D. Brooks Smith to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on July 31, 2002, the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) National President Marsha Atkind issued the following statement:
"With the Senate confirmation of Judge D. Brooks Smith, the Senate sent an alarming message to American women. They have promoted a jurist with both a professional and personal record of hostility to women's issues, including the "Violence Against Women Act" (VAWA). The Senate's willingness to overlook Judge Smith's opposition to VAWA is most troubling and clearly inconsistent with its bi-partisan praise and support of VAWA as an effective tool in the fight against domestic violence.

"We are dismayed that the Senate would confirm someone who failed to adhere to his own representation to the Senate Judiciary Committee by maintaining membership for 11 years in a club that discriminates against women. His membership in this discriminatory group, which runs contrary to judicial standards, should have disqualified him from the seat on the appellate court. As Jews, we are all too aware of the impact of exclusionary policies by clubs and other private institutions. Fortunately, the Senate has acted to repudiate this kind of discrimination in the past. Its tolerance of gender discrimination, in this case, is inexplicable and deeply disturbing."

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.