By a 51-46 vote, the Senate confirmed J Leon Holmes to the Federal bench. Letting local politics trump both good sense and good policy, Democrats helped put yet another radical conservative into the judicial system.
WASHINGTON — The judicial nomination wars, dormant in recent months, re-emerged Tuesday as the Senate narrowly confirmed one of President Bush’s nominees to the bench who has argued that abortion is akin to the Holocaust and that the Bible requires women to be subservient to men.The Senate voted 51-46 to put J. Leon Holmes on the federal bench in Arkansas after a fierce debate in which some GOP women voted against the president while Democrats from Holmes’ home state of Arkansas spoke of him in glowing terms.
Holmes has a record of saying startling things like his statement that rape victims become pregnant as often as it snows in Miami. He also wrote in 1997 that in a marriage “the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man.”
The inclusion of a crosscurrent of local Arkansas politics provided an unusual twist to the settled routine in which Republican senators regularly argue that a Bush nominee’s strongly held conservative beliefs will have no influence on the candidate’s future performance as a judge: The two Democrats from Arkansas, Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln, were making that argument on Tuesday.
Pryor argued that despite Holmes’ personal views, he was confident he would be an impartial judge. Lincoln said she had “the utmost confidence” in Holmes’ ability to be fair, saying she had been told so by many prominent Arkansans.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said, “It was quite clear that he had made numerous strident, intemperate and insensitive public statements over the years” on issues including school desegregation, political emancipation and school prayer. “His statements also reveal a callous disregard for the trauma of women who are raped.” Leahy said that while it snowed in Miami once a century, more than 20,000 rape victims are made pregnant each year.
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