The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Jerome Holmes: Another Troubling Nominee

Feature Story by Stephanie Salter - 7/13/2006

Conservatives have found yet another controversial judicial candidate in Jerome Holmes, whose recent nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has raised serious concerns from civil rights organizations.

Holmes, who was nominated in May, has long been an outspoken critic of affirmative action policy, believing it to be both unconstitutional and inappropriate in sending what he describes as a "misguided and dangerous message of racial victimization," as reported by the Alliance for Justice.

Mr. Holmes also showed strong support for school voucher programs and has criticized African-American leaders and the NAACP for questioning whether these programs could actually offer tangible benefits to the African-American community. Holmes railed against these leaders, saying that "they may not be capable of impartially evaluating the merits of voucher programs."

Furthermore, Holmes, a longstanding supporter of the death penalty, dismissed concerns over the imperfections of the system by stating that "the statement society [makes by executing a convicted murderer] ... is not materially diminished by the fact that in the implementation of the death penalty mistakes are made."

The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) expressed grave concerns about Holmes' nomination in a letter to the Senate questioning his "[ability] to rule impartially and fairly on claims that turn on legal principles of affirmative action, and about Mr. Holmes' approach to antidiscrimination laws more broadly, if he is confirmed."

Mr. Holmes' apparent disregard for the important contributions of the civil rights movement and the inequalities still embedded in American society today, make him a most troubling nominee, according to civil rights activists and advocates.

In its letter, LCCR notes that "ensuring equal opportunity for African-Americans and other minorities and women remains an elusive goal." LCCR Executive Director Wade Henderson said, "If Mr. Holmes truly believes that race and racism in America are only an 'accident of birth,' then he would do well to recognize that turning a blind eye does far more to 'maintain a socially-constructed color line' than do the affirmative action resources he would like to destroy."

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing on Holmes' nomination on July 13.

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