James Leon Holmes

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For other people named James Holmes, see James Holmes (disambiguation).

James Leon Holmes (born 1951) is a United States federal judge.


Born in Hazen, Arkansas, Holmes received a B.A. from Arkansas State University in 1973, an M.A. from Northern Illinois University in 1976, a Ph.D. from Duke University in 1979, and a J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1982. He was a law clerk, Hon. Frank Holt of the Supreme Court of Arkansas from 1982 to 1983. He was in private practice in Little Rock, Arkansas from 1983 to 1990, and again from 1992 to 2004. He was an adjunct faculty member in the Political Science Department at the University of Arkansas in 1983. He was a Tutor/professor at Thomas Aquinas College from 1990 to 1992. He was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2002.

Holmes is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Holmes was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 29, 2003, to a seat vacated by Stephen M. Reasoner. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 6, 2004, and received his commission on July 7, 2004. He served as chief judge from 2005 to 2012.

Holmes was at one time a leader in the anti-abortion movement in Arkansas. In 1980, he minimized concerns about the effect on rape victims of a proposed constitutional amendment banning abortion. "Concern for rape victims is a red herring because conceptions from rape occur with approximately the same frequency as snowfall in Miami," he wrote. In 1982, he compared the abortion rights movement to the Nazis. "The pro-abortionists counsel us to respond to these problems by abandoning what little morality our society still recognizes," he wrote. "This was attempted by one highly sophisticated, historically Christian nation in our century — Nazi Germany."[1] In 2003, Holmes apologized for the "strident and harsh" rhetoric of these 1980 and 1982 remarks.[2][3]


  1. ^ Lee, Jennifer (April 11, 2003). "Attack on Judicial Nominee Leads Senate Panel to Delay Vote". New York Times. 
  2. ^ Congressional Record of the US Senate, v. 150, p. 14334 (6 July 2004).
  3. ^ Charles Babington, Senate Confirms Controversial Nominee to Federal Court, Washington Post (7 July 2004).


Legal offices
Preceded by
Stephen M. Reasoner
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas