NCJW Opposes Nomination of Michael W. McConnell to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

September 17, 2002, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) will oppose the nomination of Michael W. McConnell to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement on McConnell:

"Professor McConnell's opposition to Roe v. Wade is absolute and well-documented. He has called the reasoning behind that historic decision 'an embarrassment to those who take constitutional law seriously' and 'without any persuasive basis in constitutional text or logic.' Even among those who oppose reproductive rights, Professor McConnell's views are among the most radical. He supports a constitutional amendment that would overturn Roe and immediately criminalize all abortions and supports legislation declaring an embryo a legal person from the 'moment of implantation.'

"Professor McConnell's position opposing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) on constitutional grounds has been rejected by every federal appeals court that has considered it. Nevertheless, he applauded when a federal judge acquitted two protestors charged with violating FACE because, the judge said, the protestors acted without 'bad purpose.' Concluding that 'I am quite sure it was not lawful,' McConnell nevertheless wrote, ' cannot help admiring the judge's act.' Such comments call into question Professor McConnell's commitment to enforce laws with which he disagrees.

"Professor McConnell's views on the separation of religion and state are extreme. He sees no barrier to government funding of religious institutions. He has described church-state separation as never having been a 'plausible or attractive conception of proper relations between government and religion in the modern activist state.'

"Through BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, NCJW has pledged to oppose judicial nominees who are not committed to constitutional rights, especially reproductive rights. Professor McConnell has, time and time again, shown hostility and disregard for these rights."

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, advocacy, 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.