NCJW Opposes Nomination of Jay S. Bybee to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

February 26, 2003, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced its opposition to the nomination of Jay S. Bybee to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. NCJW President Marsha Atkind has released the following statement:

"Jay S. Bybee’s views are far outside the mainstream of legal thought and threaten our fundamental constitutional rights. If his theories were to prevail in our courts, Americans would lose vital protections, including our First Amendment rights, the right to privacy, and reproductive freedom.

"In his writings, Mr. Bybee elevates the role of the states above all – not only above the federal government but the people themselves. He favors repeal of the 17th Amendment that took election of US senators away from state legislatures and gave it to the voters. He does not believe the First Amendment protects individuals’ free exercise of religion, but only bars Congress from interfering with the states’ regulation of religion. He contends Congress has no power to enforce the First Amendment’s guarantees, including freedom of religion, through legislation.

"Bybee has also argued that congressional restrictions on federal aid to the states are unconstitutional because they are coercive, a view that would invalidate dozens of congressional mandates protecting civil rights. He argues that Bob Jones University should not have had to give up its tax-exempt status because of its discriminatory policies, calling the government’s policy in that case "capricious."

"In another civil rights arena, Bybee has argued that antidiscrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians confers “favored status” rather than equal rights, and he once argued that gay and lesbians should be barred as defense contractors because they are "emotionally unstable."

"If Jay Bybee’s approach to federalism became law, the federal government could not enforce the right to privacy that is the bedrock of reproductive rights and the right to abortion. His nomination is one in series intended to pack the court with judges sympathetic to an ideological agenda that includes overturning Roe v. Wade, and NCJW opposes his 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.