NCJW Opposes Confirmation of Thomas B. Griffith to DC Circuit Court of Appeals

July 9, 2004, Washington, DC -- The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) has announced its opposition to the nomination of Thomas B. Griffith to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. NCJW President Marsha Atkind today released the following statement:

"NCJW believes that nominees to lifetime seats on the federal courts should demonstrate a commitment to fundamental constitutional rights. Although Mr. Griffith's legal career has consisted largely of jobs where his advice and opinions were rendered behind the scenes, his very disturbing views on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 became evident when he served on the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics. The commissionís work resulted in recommendations that would have eviscerated Title IX. Fortunately, after public outcry, President Bush rejected the commissionís report.

"Griffith supported the recommendations. While on the commission, he went further by proposing the elimination of one of the tests used to evaluate compliance with Title IX -- whether athletic programs offer opportunities to men and women in substantial proportion to their representation in the student body. Griffith called this proportionality standard 'illegal, unfair and wrong' and 'morally wrong,' claiming that it violated the Constitutionís Equal Protection Clause. Griffithís views were so extreme that ultimately the commission voted to exclude his proposal from the final report. While on the commission, Griffith dismissed the fact that eight US circuit courts have upheld the standard, declaring, 'the courts got it wrong,' and that 'I donít believe in the infallibility of the judiciary.' He later said his Title IX proposal 'went down in flames' because it was 'radical.'

"Griffith also opposed 'numeric measures' even to describe the existing allocation of opportunities. This hostility has ominous implications for key provisions of civil rights case law. Griffithís approach would endanger the use of numeric measures in affirmative action used as remedy to correct proven discrimination and as evidence of the disparate impact of a particular policy or practice on minorities and women."

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.