NCJW Disturbed by Senate Judiciary Action Approving Extremist Judges

November 14, 2002, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed deep dismay at Senate Judiciary Committee action approving two extemist nominees to the federal appellate courts – Judge Dennis Shedd to the 4th Circuit and Michael McConnell to the 10th Circuit – opposed by NCJW. NCJW National President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

"We were shocked and dismayed that the Senate Judiciary Committee, by voice vote, approved two nominees whose careers call into serious question their commitments to constitutional rights, including civil and repoductive rights. Judge Shedd's consistent record of hostility in discrimination cases makes him a poor choice to sit on a court presiding over an area with a large minority population and which has been the venue for so many critical civil rights actions. Michael McConnell, about whom there was no committee debate, has been an outspoken activist espousing the most extreme views in opposition to both reproductive rights and the separation of religion and state. We cannot afford to trust that Mr. McConnell will put aside his deeply held and often articulated personal views in applying the law.

"We call upon the US Senate to turn back the Shedd and McConnell nominations and send a message that only those nominees with a demonstrated commitment to the Constitution should be elevated to lifetime seats on the federal bench."

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.