Reform Jewish Movement Praises Senate Rejection of Efforts to Approve the Nominations of Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen
Saperstein: Both Brown and Owen hold ideologies that fall far outside the mainstream of American values and those senators who voted against invoking cloture are to be applauded.
Contact:Alexis Rice or Sheryl Shapiro 202.387.2800
WASHINGTON, November 14, 2003 - In response to today's Senate rejection of efforts to approve the nominations of Justice Janice Rogers Brown to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Priscilla Owen to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The confirmation of either Justice Janice Rogers Brown to sit on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals or Justice Priscilla Owen to sit on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would be a grave disservice to our judicial system and to all Americans.
Justice Brown's record reveals a troubling pattern of persistent hostility toward affirmative action, civil rights, and the rights of individuals with disabilities, women, older Americans and workers. Brown has used her political viewpoint to arrive at decisions regardless of judicial precedence or consistency. Her opinions reveal her skepticism about the existence and impact of discrimination and consistently limit the recourse available to victims of discrimination to obtain justice.
Justice Owen has repeatedly attempted to legislate from the bench restrictions that make reproductive health care inaccessible to young women. Justice Owen's decisions also demonstrate a clear pattern of deference to the interests of corporations over those of ordinary citizens, particularly in employment discrimination and environmental cases.
Both Brown and Owen hold ideologies that fall far outside the mainstream of American values and those senators who voted against invoking cloture are to be applauded. Yet it is disheartening that the Senate leadership scheduled 39 consecutive hours of debate on the topic of judicial nominations, rather than consider the remaining appropriations bills, discuss Medicare reform, debate the need for living wage legislation or talk about other legislation of pressing importance to the poor and vulnerable among us.
Jewish tradition teaches the necessity of fair and impartial courts. Leviticus 19:15 informs us of our ethical obligation to oppose unjust persons and unfair judgments. A fair and impartial judiciary is also the cornerstone of American democracy. Faith in our democratic institutions is eroded when nominees like Janice Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen fail to fulfill their duty to be fair and impartial. The Senate must continue to block the confirmation of extreme ideologues and ensure that our federal courts remain a place of justice for all Americans.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .