NCJW Disappointed by Confirmation of J. Leon Holmes to Arkansas District Court

July 6, 2004, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today expressed its disappointment at the Senate confirmation of J. Leon Holmes as a federal district court judge in Arkansas. In response to the 51-46 vote on July 6, 2004, NCJW President Marsha Atkind released the following statement:

"The confirmation of J. Leon Holmes is very troubling to NCJW. He has been an ardent and vocal opponent of reproductive freedom, including support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade. Holmes has a long history of leadership in the anti-choice community, working with Illinois Right to Life, Arkansas Pro-Life Educational Alliance, and the Unborn Child Amendment Committee. 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.

"Holmes has gone so far as to claim that 'concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami,' a statement belied by studies that estimate that between 25,000 and 32,000 women each year in the US become pregnant as a result of rape and about 50 percent of these pregnancies end in abortion.

"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 are gravely disappointed by the Senate's vote to confirm such an egregious nominee to a lifetime seat on the federal bench. NCJW praises the efforts of senators on both sides of the aisle who worked tirelessly to attempt to defeat this troubling nomination."

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.