Commentary

GOP assault on the courts continues

In case you harbored any illusions that the national outcry against Brett Kavanaugh might have done something to shame the Trump administration and/or its accomplices on Capitol Hill with respect to elevating extreme right-wing ideologues to the federal courts and abandoning traditional legislative process in doing so, think again.

Two disturbing examples from this week illustrate how, if anything, things continue to speed downhill. In the first, President Trump announced he would nominate a far-right ideologue from his Office of information and Regulatory Affairs named Neomi Rao to a lifetime appointment on the nation’s second most important court. This is from the Nan Aron, President of the Alliance for Justice:

Trump nominates a “slash and burn” deregulator

This nomination to a court that is second in importance only to the U.S. Supreme Court appears to be entirely consistent with this administration’s stated goal of using the justice system to eviscerate a whole host of legal protections for Americans. Neomi Rao seems to epitomize the Trump Administration’s slash-and-burn approach to deregulation. Given that the D.C. Circuit handles most of the litigation related to health, safety and civil rights issues in this country, AFJ will study Ms. Rao’s record and will urge the Senate to closely scrutinize her credentials for this key court. The nomination should not be fast-tracked by Senate Republicans or rushed to completion without careful vetting and examination — or the wellbeing of the American people will suffer.

In example #2, the Senate Judiciary Committee plunged ahead with a Third Circuit nomination, despite the strong opposition of both home state senators from the nominee’s state. This is the same committee that refused for years to advance Obama nominees in North Carolina in deference to the opposition of Sen. Richard Burr. Again, here’s Nan Aron:

Matey hearing an affront to home-state senators

Paul Matey’s hearing was held over the strong objections of his home-state senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, who were not meaningfully consulted on his nomination. This is an affront to these senators and to the people of New Jersey who elected them. It was especially troubling to watch the Chairman, Sen. Grassley, snap at Sen. Booker during today’s hearing in response to Booker’s reasonable request for a short meeting with Matey. No circuit court judge has ever been confirmed over the objections of both home-state senators. But Republicans seem committed to confirming this ally of former Governor Chris Christie, since partisan political ties seem to be the credential the Trump Administration most wants in federal judges. Meanwhile the GOP-led committee is intent on using this lame-duck session to continue blowing through every norm and rule that used to govern the confirmation process, jamming through more Trump judges with as little vetting and consultation as possible.

Read AFJ’s report on Matey here.

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