The Trump-Pence administration has been filling judicial vacancies faster than any modern administration, reshaping our courts for decades to come. The fact that Donald Trump and Mike Pence are choosing the judges that will serve for life is scary — but the nominees’ views are even scarier: Many of them are anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant. The judiciary is our last line of defense in protecting our health, rights, and communities — we need judges who will interpret the law based on facts, not their own ideology.
Take a look at Wendy Vitter, who's nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Wendy Vitter is patently unfit for a lifetime federal judgeship. The only experience she has in federal court is a two-day trial that took place 25 years ago. You read that correctly.
Even if she actually had more federal experience, Vitter would still be a dangerous choice for a federal judgeship. She has a long record of opposing women’s health and rights in her public appearances. She has promoted fake science, incorrectly linking breast cancer to abortion (guess what? There’s no link) and the idea that people who take birth control are more likely to die violent deaths (wow!). And she praised Texas’ efforts to enact medically unnecessary abortion restrictions that were struck down by the Supreme Court as “making great strides in making it very difficult to get abortions.”
And she hasn’t just talked about her anti-abortion ideology — she’s taken her extremism to the streets. Or, more accurately, to Planned Parenthood. In 2013, Vitter spoke out against the construction of a Planned Parenthood health center in New Orleans that expanded access to life-saving preventive care to thousands of women. She led anti-abortion panels, spoke at anti-abortion rallies, and represented organizations that were attempting to undermine access to basic health care.
Vitter is also dishonest. She withheld over 95 pages of documents from the Senate she should have given them as part of her nomination. That includes the documents that demonstrate her extreme anti-abortion record. In the past, some judicial nominees who left out important information like that were dropped from consideration. But that’s not stopping the Trump administration or partisan senators who are willing to greenlight these extreme nominees.
As a lifetime appointee, Vitter will have unregulated power to use the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to shape the law. In Louisiana, anti-abortion politicians use their political office to restrict access to reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion. We need judges on the bench who will stand up for the constitutional right to safe and legal abortion.
Wendy Vitter cannot be allowed to use this post to impose her extreme agenda on the people of Louisiana. Her appointment would put our health and rights at risk.
Why Does This Matter?
With lifetime appointments, Trump’s judicial nominees can wreak havoc on our health, rights, and communities for generations, decades after Trump leaves office. Pause. Read that sentence again. Generations! Decades!
Also, some of these nominees like Vitter are only being considered for judicial openings because the Republican Senate majority blocked many of President Obama’s nominees from even getting a hearing.
This isn’t the first time the Trump-Pence administration has nominated an unqualified political crony for a judgeship, but even for them, Wendy Vitter is an outrageously inappropriate choice. We are at risk of an entire branch of government being remade with judges who are in a position to restrict our health and rights — for the rest of their lives.
They may think that no one is paying attention to federal judgeship nominees, and that they can push through extreme individuals like Vitter without objection — but they’re wrong.