New Year, Same Terrible Judicial Nominations
Recently, Trump renominated 51 judicial nominees who did not make it past the confirmation finish line before the end of the last Congress. Many of these nominees had a litany of problems with their nomination including having a horrible record on reproductive rights and civil rights, being ranked unqualified by the ABA, or not getting support from their home state senator. And just as always seems to be the case with Trump’s nominees, there is a shameful lack of diversity among the bunch. Today, the Judiciary Committee will consider 42 of the 51 judicial nominees.
In case you need a refresher, here are a few nominees who made it back on the list and are expected to be fast-tracked into a lifetime seat on the federal judiciary.
Let’s start with Eastern District of Louisiana nominee Wendy Vitter, who has made a name for herself as a staunch anti-abortion advocate. She made extreme accusations against Planned Parenthood and has spread fake science about birth control, claiming that birth control leads to violent deaths.
Matthew Kacsmaryk, the nominee for the Northern District of Texas, also made the list. He criticized protections against sex discrimination. He argued that procreation is “a pillar of marriage law” that was destroyed by Supreme Court cases confirming that the Constitution protects the decision to use contraceptives and to decide whether to have an abortion. He made dismissive and critical comments about the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade and marriage equality case Obergefell v. Hodges.
Sixth Circuit nominee Chad Readler, who was Trump’s Acting Assistant Attorney General, is also being considered. He is credited as being the chief architect of the Trump Administration’s unprecedented and widely criticized refusal to defend the Affordable Care Act in a court challenge and in taking the further step of saying that provisions protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage or being charged more should be struck down. Readler was also supporting counsel in Garza v. Hargan, a case in which the Trump Administration tried to completely block a young immigrant minor in government custody from accessing an abortion, a position rejected by the D.C. Circuit. Then, in an unprecedented and alarming example of how far the Trump Administration has gone to bully lawyers who oppose the Trump Administration, Readler later petitioned the Supreme Court to discipline the ACLU attorneys who brought the case.
As if there wasn’t enough to worry with this batch of judicial nominees, the Senate Judiciary is also expected to vote- ON THE SAME DAY- on whether to advance Attorney General nominee William Barr. You might recall he’s the former Bush AG who has repeatedly said Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, has tried multiple times to take down the ACA in his personal capacity, has argued employers should be allowed to block access to birth control, and was in charge of detaining HIV positive refugees in Guantanamo Bay.
The Senate Republicans continue to make court packing a priority. We cannot allow judicial nominees who have a record of attacking our ability to make decisions about our bodies and our lives to get a lifetime position as a judge without a fight.