Commentary

Another new low: Trump nominates right-wing blogger to the U.S. Court of Appeals

There is more compelling evidence this week  of the critical importance of progressives paying close attention to (and fighting back against) Donald Trump’s frightening plans for remaking our federal judiciary. This is from court watchers at the nonpartisan Alliance for Justice:

“Paperwork submitted by John K. Bush, President Trump’s nominee for the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, reveals that Bush has spent a decade writing inflammatory and, often, offensive blog posts for the website Elephants in the Bluegrass.

Writing under a pseudonym, G. Morris, Bush authored more than 400 entries for the ultraconservative blog run by his wife Bridget Bush. While Bush pontificates on a broad swath of issues, one common theme runs throughout his writings: Bush displays a remarkable contempt for any issue he deems liberal or progressive, often launching into personal attacks on individuals he disagrees with. Bush’s writings should disqualify him for a lifetime seat on the federal bench for two reasons. First, Bush’s writings raise serious concerns about whether, as a judge, he will be able to approach the issues presented to him with an open mind, applying the law to the facts of the case without regard to his personal ideology. Second, Bush’s distasteful rhetoric demonstrates that he lacks the judicial temperament necessary to serve as a federal judge….

Reproduced below is a sampling of Bush’s troubling blog posts:

  • In a post entitled The Legacy From Dr. King’s Dream That Liberals Ignore, Bush conflates the goals of the civil rights movement with those of the pro-life movement, concluding with the following statement: ‘“The two greatest tragedies in our country—slavery and abortion—relied on similar reasoning and activist justices at the U.S. Supreme Court, first in the Dred Scott decision, and later in Roe.’
  • While live blogging from the 2016 Republican National Convention in July, Bush wrote Baring My Pre-Convention Thoughts, reflecting on the 2008 presidential election: ‘The Democrats were making history with the first serious African American candidate. McCain wasn’t the first anything. Only the most diehard of protestors thought it worth their time to protest him. This year is different. The Democrats are trying to win with the same game plan as in 2008, only substitute woman for Black.’

As Supreme Court expert Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress explains in an excellent post, “this is not normal.” What’s more, Bush’s legal views are extreme on an array of issues:

“In any event, Bush’s public statements and writings do not simply reveal political views that place him very far to the right. They also reveal legal opinions that are widely out of step with well-established law accepted by Democrats and Republicans alike. That’s not something that presidents typically look for in judicial nominees.”

Of course, this is just the beginning if progressives don’t push back. As was explained in this post a couple of weeks back, 15% of the federal judiciary now stands vacant and awaiting Trump nominations. Simply put, for those who care about resisting Trumpism, there is no more important battle in the coming months and years than the fight for our courts. With Thom Tillis sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee, let’s hope North Carolina voters let him know about their concerns in this area in the weeks and months ahead.

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