NCJW Opposes Confirmation of Leon Holmes to Arkansas District Court

April 30, 2003, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) expressed its misgivings today over the nomination of J. Leon Holmes to be a federal district court judge in Arkansas. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

"The nomination of Judge Holmes is troubling to NCJW members and friends. He has been an ardent opponent of reproductive freedom, with a history of organizational activism in the “right-to-life” movement and support of a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"Holmes worked with Illinois Right to Life in the early 1980s and then went on to become a co-founder of the Arkansas Pro-Life Educational Alliance. He also served as an officer of the Unborn Child Amendment Committee, whose goal was passage of an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that would bar abortion altogether except to save the life of the mother. He has been president of Arkansas Right to Life and a member of the National Law Association, founded in the 1990s in response to the pro-choice position of the American Bar Association. In 1999, he received the leadership award of Arkansas Right to Life.

"Holmes has also challenged the separation of religion and state, stating that ‘Christianity, in principle, cannot accept subordination to the political authorities....’ He has written that wives should be subordinate to their husbands and has denigrated homosexual relationships.

"NCJW has generally not involved itself with lower court nominees, but it is difficult to believe, given the ardent nature of Holmes’ views, that he would approach the bench with the requisite objectivity. We believe he should not be confirmed.”

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.