NCJW Opposes Nomination of Claude A. Allen to 4th Circuit Court of Appeals

July 23, 2003, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced its opposition to the nomination of Claude A. Allen to the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. NCJW president Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

“Claude A. Allen’s career has been that of a vociferous partisan of extreme views. He is an opponent of the constitutional right to privacy and to abortion in all circumstances except to save the life of the mother. As Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, he opposed implementing the state’s federally-funded Children’s Health Insurance Program because the federal government required abortion coverage in cases of rape or incest as well.

“In another violation of individual privacy rights Allen went to court to prevent Michele Finn from having her brain-damaged husband, Hugh Finn, disconnected from his feeding tube in accordance with his wishes as expressed to her prior to his mortal injury. Using his official position, Allen continued to assist in futile legal interventions to overturn a finding that Finn was in a persistent vegetative state and would never recover. To redress the harm done to Finn’s family, the Virginia General Assembly approved an appropriation of $48,000 after Finn died to help pay Michele Finn’s legal fees fighting Allen.

"While serving as press secretary to US Senator Jesse Helms’ 1984 re-election campaign, Allen attacked Helms’ opponent as having “links with queers.” He is also an advocate of abstinence-only sex education.

"Allen has little or no trial experience, and his selection for the appeals court bench appears to have been made on ideological grounds. The seat he would fill has normally been reserved for a resident of Maryland, and the nomination of a Virginia resident will circumvent the expected opposition of the two liberal Maryland senators. Allen’s nomination should be defeated.”

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.