NCJW to Oppose Confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown to DC Circuit Court of Appeals

October 23, 2003, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced its opposition to the nomination of California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the US Court of Appeals. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

“The legal philosophy espoused by California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown would roll back fundamental rights and constitutional protections that are the bedrock of modern jurisprudence in the areas of reproductive rights, race discrimination, and disability law, among other topics. Her opinions reveal a legal extremism and ideological approach to law that would make her a poor choice for the most important circuit court of appeals in the country.

“NCJW is deeply troubled by the repeated nomination of candidates for our federal appeals courts whose extreme views are far outside the mainstream of federal case law and the American legal profession. Unfortunately Justice Brown is such a nominee. Justice Brown’s approach can best be illustrated by a speech she gave to the Federalist Society, in which she proclaimed that the 1937 Supreme Court was responsible for ‘the triumph of our socialist revolution’ when that court upheld New Deal legislation.

“On the California Supreme Court, Justice Brown’s decisions have continued in this dismissive mode. Her dissenting opinion in a case on a parental notice law excoriated the majority who believed the California state constitution protected the right of privacy for minors, citing ‘legal materials’ prepared by a group that operates hundreds of anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers.

“Justice Brown has ruled several times in opposition to claims made by victims of race discrimination in ways that contravene existing case law, and she has also been hostile to claims of discrimination based on disability.

“When first appointed to the California Supreme Court, she was rated ‘unqualified’ for appointment by the State Bar Committee on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. In addition to citing her inexperience, the committee raised concerns that she was insensitive to established precedent, lacked compassion and tolerance for opposing views, and was prone to inserting her conservative personal views into her appellate opinions. These are not the qualities of a worthy nominee to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

“Justice Brown’s views would endanger the rights of millions of Americans who look to the courts to defend their rights. Her 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.