Commentary, Defending Democracy

Come on, Senator Tillis, do the right thing on this one

The Right’s ongoing judicial coup d’é·tat will sink to a remarkable low today when the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee — including, by all indications, one of its most loyal champions of reaction, Senator Thom Tillis — is expected to advance three extreme Trump nominees to serve lifetime appointments as federal judges. And while that may sound like just a normal day in Washington during these dark times, there is another aspect to the story that makes it even more outrageous and maddening: the votes will take place on the anniversary of the historic Supreme Court school desegregation ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education and — get this — the would-be judges in question refuse to endorse the landmark decision.

This is from a post yesterday from national civil rights leader Vanita Gupta:

“In response to a straightforward question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal last month, Louisiana district court nominee Wendy Vitter refused to say whether the Supreme Court correctly decided Brown v. Board of Education. It was a stunning moment caught on video.

Given that millions of people watched this video, one would imagine the coaching sessions for Trump’s nominees would have prepared them for the question to be asked again, but just two weeks later, Trump’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee, Andrew Oldham, joined four White male district court nominees, including Eastern District of Texas nominee Michael Truncale, in also refusing to say whether Brown v. Board was correctly decided.

It wasn’t a trick question. Current Supreme Court justices—including Justices Thomas and Gorsuch—supported Brown at their nominations hearings.

Considering that the Senate Judiciary Committee stands poised to vote on their nominations this Thursday—64 years following the groundbreaking and unanimous Brown decision—their refusal to agree with this landmark ruling should serve as a wake-up call for what President Trump is trying to do to our independent courts.”

Gupta concludes this way:

“Beyond their disqualifying refusal to answer this question, these nominees have records that are deeply concerning to the civil and human rights community. In addition to a history of hostility to immigrant rights, Vitter has embraced fringe and discredited views about contraception?—?views that she failed to disclose to the Senate. Thirty-nine-year-old Oldham has worked to restrict voting rights, immigrant rights and women’s health—as well as seeking to undermine environmental protection and gun safety. He has even questioned the very existence of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Michael Truncale has echoed Trump’s fear-mongering about the Mexican border and has called for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education.

By voting to advance Vitter, Oldham, and Truncale to the Senate floor on Thursday, senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee will be affirming that these nominees’ extreme views are now acceptable, that people in America do not deserve fair-minded jurists on the federal bench, and that Brown v. Board of Education was not correctly decided. All committee members must stand on the side of justice and protect our federal courts by voting to reject these three extreme judicial nominees.”

Come on Senator Tillis, do the right thing.

One Comment


  1. Paul Smith

    May 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Thank you for this article. If Tillis moves these three forward, nc move deeper into a position of national shame. Come on Senator Tillis, we want to be proud of you. Would you personally hire employees who are not ethically or intellectually up to the needs of a job? Please, please withdraw these nominees!

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