Common Dreams NewsCenter


 Home | NewswireAbout Us | Donate | Sign-Up | Archives

Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire > For Immediate Release     


Send this page to a friend
JULY 31, 2002
4:42 PM
CONTACT:  National Organization for Women
202-628-8669 Rebecca Farmer, x 116
NOW Blasts Senate Confirmation of Judge D. Brooks Smith
WASHINGTON - July 31 - "Women across the country are grateful to the 35 senators who bucked the White House's pressure campaign and chose ethics over politics," said National Organization for Women (NOW) President Kim Gandy. Judge D. Brooks Smith was confirmed by the Senate 64-35 today. "Judge Smith is unfit to serve on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, despite the outrageous statements of his chief defender, Sen. Orrin Hatch, who defamed Smith's detractors instead of dealing with the real issues."

"The Code of Judicial Ethics exists for a reason, and a judge like Smith who won't abide by those rules has no place on any bench, let alone on the U.S. Court of Appeal." NOW has strongly opposed the nomination of D. Brooks Smith for a lifetime seat as an appellate judge. Among other problems, Judge Smith violated the judicial conduct rules by remaining a member of the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club, which discriminates against women. In 1988, when he was being considered for the lifetime District Court judgeship he now holds, he acknowledged that keeping his membership would violate judicial ethics, and he promised the committee that he would resign if the club didn't change its rules. It didn't and he didn't, until this seat came open on the Third Circuit.

"In Tuesday night's Senate hearing, right-wing senators like Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) twisted the facts about Judge Smith and painted a false picture of the advocates who oppose his nomination," Gandy said. "With their insulting comparisons to women's fly-fishing clubs, Senators Hatch and Santorum dismissed the experiences of business and professional women across this country who have been excluded from the business connections that come with membership in clubs like Spruce Creek."

Smith even acknowledged that his Senate sponsor for the judgeship he now holds, the late Sen. John Heinz, was a member of that club.

Yet Sen. Hatch, taking a page from the "best defense is a good offense" book, tried to distract attention from the Judge's membership in a discriminatory club (which even Smith acknowledged was a violation of judicial ethics) by arguing that such limitations infringe on Smith's freedom of association guaranteed under the First Amendment. To the contrary, federal judges have a responsibility to decide many sensitive questions, discrimination among them, and victims of discrimination who appear in their courts deserve to face judges who are intolerant of discrimination in all its forms.

"The Senate had an opportunity, with this vote, to say that ethics matter, and that discrimination against women is not trivial," concluded Gandy.

Send this page to a friend
Common Dreams NewsCenter is a non-profit news service
providing breaking news and views for the Progressive Community.

The press release posted here has been provided to Common Dreams NewsWire by one of the many progressive organizations who make up America's Progressive Community. If you wish to comment on this press release or would like more information, please contact the organization directly.
*all times Eastern US (GMT-5:00)

Making News?
Read our Guidelines for Submitting News Releases

Tell Us What You Think:

Copyright 1997-2003 Common Dreams.