NCJW Hails Senate Vote on Estrada Nomination

March 6, 2003, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today hailed the vote by the US Senate to continue debate on the nomination of Miguel Estrada to a lifetime appointment to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the second most important court in the country. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

"The Senate vote today to delay consideration of the nomination of Miguel Estrada is a victory for those who believe the Senate is entitled to know the judicial philosophy of those whom it is asked to confirm to lifetime appointments on the federal appeals bench. Senators are rightly disturbed by two aspects of this nomination. First, Miguel Estrada’s refusal to answer the simplest questions at his hearing appeared evasive and disingenuous. Second, the administration’s decision to withhold legal memoranda Estrada wrote while working at the Justice Department was an attempt to obscure his views. This refusal left the Senate in the dark on Estrada's philosophy, while the White House was fully aware of his legal record. This obfuscation by the nominee and his sponsors made it impossible for the Senate to exercise its responsibility to advise and consent on his nomination in an informed manner.

"The vote is also a victory for the thousands and thousands of Americans, including members of NCJW, who wrote letters, sent e-mails, made phone calls, and held meetings with their Senators to impress upon them the importance of maintaining a balanced judiciary by carefully examining the record of every nominee.

"It is unfortunate that the President believes the Senate advise and consent function can be met by simply holding 'an up or down vote,' as he said today. We believe the Senate's responsibility is far broader than that, and today’s vote demonstrates that a significant portion of the Senate agrees.”

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.