In a vote of 51 to 46 yesterday, the Senate confirmed James Leon Holmes to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Holmes, who once wrote that "...a wife is to subordinate herself to her husband," holds far-right views on reproductive rights, the role of women, and separation of church and state. The confirmation vote had been previously postponed due to possible concerns among some Republican senators, reports People for the American Way. These concerns manifested in a vote that crossed party lines, with 5 Republicans - Chafee (RI), Collins (ME), Hutchison (TX), Snowe (ME), and Warner (VA) - voting against Holmes, and 6 Democrats - Breaux (LA), Landrieu (LA), Lincoln (AR), Miller (GA), Nelson (NE), and Pryor (AR) - voting for confirmation.
Holmes' record reflects his extreme anti-choice views. Holmes believes that both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were wrongly decided because they run counter to 'natural law.' He has compared pro-choice advocates to Nazis and abortion to slavery and has indirectly labeled abortion providers 'criminals.' Additionally, Holmes has refused to allow exemptions for abortion to victims of rape. "Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami," Holmes once callously stated. In fact, studies show that 25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant each year in the US as a result of rape. Senator Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told the LA Times that he considers Holmes "intolerant" and likely to "pursue an anti-abortion agenda and other conservative causes from the bench."