NCJW Expresses Deep Concern Over Shedd Confirmation

November 20, 2002, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is deeply concerned by the Senate vote to elevate US District Court Judge Dennis Shedd to the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. NCJW's National President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

"The confirmation by the Senate last night of Judge Dennis Shedd - yet another nominee to the federal appellate bench whose dedication to fairness and sensitivity to individual rights has been seriously questioned - is deeply disturbing. Judge Shedd will join a circuit already deemed the most conservative in the country, and one which lacks ideological, geographic, and racial balance.

"Judge Shedd's tenure on the federal bench to date demonstrates a pattern of disregard for the rights of victims of sexual harassment and racial discrimination and a narrow ideological view of the law. At his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he refused to state whether he thought the right to privacy included the right to choose abortion, and he admitted that no complainant in a discrimination case had ever won a jury trial in his courtroom. His nomination was opposed by many national and local civil rights groups, and by elected officials, legal organizations and lawyers from the Mid-Atlantic region covered by the circuit, as well as NCJW.

"The minimal debate on the floor of the Senate over this nominee raises serious concerns about the Senate's commitment to its critical role of evaluating the President's nominees before consenting to their confirmation."

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.