NCJW Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Reject Claude A. Allen

June 22, 2003, Washington, DC -- Marsha Atkind, president of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), has called on members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote this week against the nomination of Claude A. Allen to the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

"The nomination of Claude Allen to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has unfortunately come to life again after a deserved hiatus of nine months in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mr. Allen's career has been that of a vociferous partisan of extreme views, opposed to the constitutional right to privacy and to abortion in all circumstances except to save the life of the mother. His views are on the far edge of the anti-abortion movement -- as Virginia's Secretary of Health and Human Services, he even 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.

"In another violation of individual privacy rights, Allen went to court in a right-to-die case 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. Abusing his state office, Allen pursued futile legal interventions to overturn a finding that Finn was in a persistent vegetative state and would never recover. The Virginia General Assembly felt compelled to approve an appropriation of $48,000 after Finn died to help pay Michele Finn's legal fees fighting Allen.

"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 appointment of a Virginia resident will circumvent the expected opposition of the two liberal Maryland senators. NCJW urges the Senate Judiciary Committee to defeat Allen's nomination to this lifetime post."

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 for all through its network of 90,000 members, supporters, and volunteers 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.