NCJW Urges Senate to Repudiate Court Packing

January 27, 2003, Washington, DC – National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) President Marsha Atkind issued the following statement in response to the recently accelerated activity on federal judicial nominations:

"The framers of the Constitution, in their wisdom, involved both the US Senate and the President in the process of filling judicial nominations. We believe that this role, carved out for the Senate to "advise and consent" on nominations, goes a long way towards ensuring a philosophical balance on the high courts of our nation. Unfortunately, the current list of nominees to the federal appellate court does not reflect this balance but rather tips the courts towards an ultra conservative judicial ideology.

"In addition, the attempt by the Senate Judiciary Committee to rush through nominees to important lifetime appointments to the federal bench is extremely troubling. For example, a vote is scheduled on the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the DC Circuit Court even though documents critical to the full and responsible scrutiny of his nomination have been denied to Senators on the Judiciary Committee. Circuit Court nominees are being grouped together in hearings, allowing insufficient time for thoughtful questioning and examination of their judicial records and opinions.

"The Circuit Courts are the guardians of our constitutional rights, including the right to reproductive choice. Decisions made by these courts will impact generations. The National Council of Jewish Women, through BenchMark: NCJW's Campaign to Save Roe, is educating and mobilizing our 90,000 supporters and others to urge confirmation of only those nominees with a proven commitment to fundamental rights, including reproductive rights.

"We urge the Senate to stand fast in insisting on their constitutional role to "advise and consent" and to refuse to act on any nomination that has not received full and complete scrutiny."

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.