NCJW Applauds Senate Rejection of Pickering

October 30, 2003, Washington, DC Ц The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today applauded the action of the Senate in refusing to end debate on the nomination of US District Court Judge Charles Pickering to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

УNCJW firmly believes that the confirmation of Judge Pickering to sit on the 5th Circuit would be a grave disservice to those residing in states under the jurisdiction of that appeals court and to all Americans. Judge Pickering is an opponent of fundamental civil rights, including the right to privacy and reproductive freedom. In 1978, he voted in the Mississippi legislature to call a constitutional convention to outlaw abortion. As chair of the subcommittee of the 1976 Republican National Convention's Platform Committee, he supported a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. He voted against state funding for family planning programs. And he has a troubling record on civil rights for African Americans.

УJudge Pickering was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee after his 2001 nomination by President Bush. Despite this, the President renominated him during the current session of Congress. And now the Senate majority is determined to push him through. Those who stood against this effort are to be commended. The President should re-think his strategy of nominating ultra-right candidates to the federal appeals courts and seek to build a consensus behind a moderate, mainstream judiciary that all can support. In the meantime, the Senate should continue to block confirmation of this extreme nominee."

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.