WASHINGTON - July 6 - Today the Senate confirmed President Bushs nomination of Leon Holmes to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The nominees record of extremism on reproductive choice, the role of women and other issues had generated concern even among some Republican Senators, several of whom voted against Holmes.
Todays vote provides another example of a far-right federal judge named by President Bush and another failed opportunity for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional role as a responsible check on the White House, said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. Now another extremist has been given a powerful lifetime job as a federal judge. This kind of nominee should have been rejected on a bipartisan basis.
The views expressed by Mr. Holmes about reproductive rights and other issues of critical importance to women are far outside any mainstream understanding of constitutional values. Holmes has callously dismissed the rights of women seeking abortion. He has even minimized the situation of women who become pregnant as a result of rape, stating, . . . concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami. In fact, studies estimate that between 25,000 and 32,000 women each year become pregnant as a result of rape in the U.S., and about 50 percent of these pregnancies end in abortion.
Leon Holmes is one of a number of ideologues who has been nominated by President Bush in his efforts to shift the federal judiciary far to the right. But his nomination and now his confirmation are a particularly offensive insult to American women.
Holmes record and extreme views about the role of women and other subjects will make it impossible for many who come before him to expect a fair hearing, said Neas. His confirmation is another reminder to American voters that the future of a federal judiciary committed to our rights and freedoms is at stake in this election year.