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Courting Disaster: Trump's Judicial Nominees
 

His picks could restrict our rights for generations to come.

The Trump-Pence Administration is Quickly Reshaping Our Nation's Courts

One of the most important powers of the president is nominating federal judges. And President Trump is doing this at record speed, moving quickly to fill the 150 judicial vacancies he inherited upon taking office. 

Most of his nominees are extremely conservative, and many hold views that are hostile to reproductive health and rights.

In vote after vote, senators are confirming Trump's nominees to lifetime positions as federal judges — where they'll be able to make rulings that will affect our rights and access to health care for generations to come.

We need your help to demand that our senators #ProtectOurCourts and block Trump's judicial nominees.

Who are Trump's Judicial Nominees?

  • 77% are men

  • 82% are white

  • A record number are rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association (ABA)

Source: NPR
 

How Extreme and Unqualified are Trump’s Nominees? 

Meet just a handful of them. Some have already been confirmed by the Senate, others have had their nominations withdrawn, and some are awaiting Senate confirmation — which means we can still put pressure on our senators to block them from the bench.

These judges and nominees could rule on legal cases that could fundamentally restrict our right to access safe, legal abortion and affordable health care for decades.

That’s how important it is to stop them. #ProtectOurCourts

Amy Coney Barrett

  • Said judges shouldn’t follow the law or the Constitution if it conflicts with their personal religious beliefs
  • Believes that Roe v. Wade created “a framework of abortion on demand” that “ignited a national controversy”

     

Kyle Duncan

  • Fought against birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act

  • Defended an unconstitutional Texas law that placed burdensome, unnecessary restrictions on women’s access to safe, legal abortion

Matthew Kacsmaryk

  • Argued against marriage equality and opposes legislation to prevent LGBTQ discrimination

  • Wants to make it easier to deny people access to reproductive health under the guise of “religious liberty”

Jonathan Kobes

  • Had only argued a single case in federal appellate court before his nomination
  • As an attorney for a fake women’s health center, he defended a law that forced doctors to lie to women seeking abortion care

Michael Truncale

  • Called for “defunding” Planned Parenthood

  • As a congressional candidate in 2012, he openly bragged about marching in an anti-abortion protest

Wendy Vitter

  • Tried to hide her obvious anti-abortion bias from the Senate Judiciary Committee 
  • Spread widely discredited arguments and misinformation about abortion and birth control

Don Willett

  • Voiced disagreement with Roe v. Wade and disputed whether U.S. law recognizes the right to abortion

  • Boasts about his support from anti-reproductive health groups

Brett Talley

  • Had never tried a case before his nomination
  • In blog posts and comments he wrote harsh criticism of the “indefensible” Roe v. Wade — and spoke favorably of “the first KKK”

Leonard Steven Grasz

  • Referred to Supreme Court rulings on abortion — including Roe v. Wade — as “questionable jurisprudence”
  • Defended anti-abortion laws by trying to compare the rights of a fetus to the civil rights of enslaved people
  • Served as a board member of the right-wing Nebraska Family Alliance, which has advocated for the use of discredited so-called “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ people

Trump's Plan to Stack the Courts

The plan to stack the courts with extremists has been underway for years, even before Trump announced his run for the presidency. Using unprecedented methods of obstruction, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his caucus brought the process of filling vacant federal judgeships to a crawl — and then, upon taking over the Senate majority in 2014, further slowed the pace of confirmation for President Obama’s nominees to a near halt. McConnell even said no to holding a mere hearing on Obama’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant when Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.

The result: 108 seats kept vacant by Senate Republicans for Donald Trump to fill.

Trump and Senate Republicans moved swiftly to seize that opportunity — supplanting the snail’s pace of confirmations in the Obama years with a stampede to place extreme and unqualified nominees in lifetime judgeships. The consequences so far have been enormous. On the federal appeals courts, which sit one tier below the U.S. Supreme Court in the federal judiciary, Trump appointees already make up one in six active judges.

Our Access to Abortion and Affordable Health Care is at Stake

“For me, as a doctor, it’s about people’s lives. It’s about women’s lives. It’s about patients’ lives. 

And because these are lifetime appointments, this will affect generations to come.” 

Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood

Source: Rolling Stone

Stacking the Courts with Extremists Helps the Far-Right Agenda in Two Big Ways:

1.

Erode our last line of defense in protecting our rights, health, and communities.

Packing the courts with extreme opponents of abortion, birth control, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights is a clear attempt to whittle away at our rights.

Trump promised, as a candidate, to appoint judges who would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. His judicial nominees may erode or reverse advances in health care access, including abortion — with disproportionate harm to women of color, people with low incomes, women in rural areas, and immigrants.

2.

Sway the courts for generations to come.



Conservatives enjoyed two years of unchecked rule in Washington under President Trump, but knew that their grip on Congress and the White House might slip.

Ideologues hope to lock in their power through the courts — giving extremists decades in which to use the judiciary to undermine access to safe and legal abortion, access to health care, the right to vote, environmental and consumer protections, and more.

How Are Conservatives Making This Happen?

To place Trump nominees into lifetime positions on the federal courts, politicians in the Senate have cut corner after corner. Over decades, for instance, the nonpartisan ABA has counseled senators on the qualifications of judicial nominees — but conservatives in the Senate have ended that tradition. Trump nominees have proceeded to Senate confirmation hearings before the ABA could complete the review process — and senators have even voted to confirm nominees that the ABA evaluated as “not qualified.”  

Nina Totenberg, a journalist who has covered the federal courts for decades, calls senators’ rush to confirm Trump nominees unprecedented:

Gone, for all practical purposes, is the tradition that prevented action on a judicial nominee who was not approved by his or her home state senators. Gone is the practice of not holding a confirmation hearing until the American Bar Association has completed its professional evaluation of the nominee. Gone is the general practice of not piling up multiple nominees in one hearing. And now, for the first time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings during a Senate recess, over the objections of the minority party.

 

But Remember: Our Senators Have the Power

Trump's plan to pack the courts depends upon crucial votes by our senators. A single vote can block or confirm a judicial nominee — and impact our rights and freedoms for years to come.

For example:

The Senate's Vote to Confirm Leonard Steven Grasz

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) joined a party line vote to confirm Grasz. This was despite Grasz being an anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ judge rated “not qualified” by the ABA.

The Senate's Vote to Confirm Kyle Duncan

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) voted with their party to give Kyle Duncan a lifetime position on a circuit court of appeals. Duncan's opposed to abortion, birth control, marriage equality, and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

The Senate's Vote to Confirm Brett Kavanaugh

Senators Collins, Gardner, and Tillis voted to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In doing so, they ignored grave concerns, including multiple allegations of sexual violence.