Judiciary Committee Vote For Smith 'Disappointing, Not Justified By Record'

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 today to approve the nomination of Judge D. Brooks Smith to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Today's vote to recommend Judge Smith for promotion to the appeals court was extremely disappointing," said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. "After 1991 and 1992, many Americans hoped that the Senate Judiciary Committee would be more sensitive to gender discrimination issues. But obviously, twelve members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were not offended either by the fact that Judge Smith violated the Code of Conduct by continuing to belong to a club that discriminates against women, or by the fact that he broke a promise he made to the Committee and later misled the Committee about that membership."

Neas said he hoped that other senators would carefully review Judge Smith's record and that his nomination would be rejected on the Senate floor. "The fight against this nomination is not over," he said.

"Senator Leahy did an excellent job summarizing many of the serious problems with Judge Smith's record," said Neas. "It is troubling that three Democratic senators and the Republican senators were willing to dismiss his ethical lapses as well as questions about his judicial philosophy and record."

Neas praised the senators who voted against the nomination, and said other Democratic and moderate Republican senators must be willing to resist pressure from the White House to allow the federal courts to become dominated by right-wing ideologues.

"Nobody likes to fight over judicial nominations," Neas said. "But there's too much at stake not to fight. Senators must be ready and willing to stand up to the White House – as many times as necessary – and reject nominees whose records require it. Only then will the White House be willing to negotiate and nominate more moderate mainstream nominees."

People For the American Way is one of many public interest organizations that opposed Smith's promotion to the appeals court based on his judicial philosophy and views on federalism, his record of troubling decisions and reversals, his membership in a discriminatory club and his lack of candor about the club with the Judiciary Committee, and more. Click here to read PFAW's report on Judge Smith.

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