Critics object to extreme judicial nominees

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nominations of two of Donald Trump’s most extreme judicial nominees, John Bush and Damien Schiff, in a party line vote that was roundly condemned by good government activists.

Bush was nominated for a lifetime position on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Schiff was nominated to a 15-year term on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

“Given their records and their performance in their hearings, no reasonable person can think that John Bush and Damien Schiff are fit for the federal bench,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Both of these nominees have made clear not just that they’re bringing an extreme agenda to the bench, but that they don’t have the temperament for the job.”

“We expect judges to be impartial as they decide cases on the law and the facts, while treating litigants coming before them fairly and with respect,” said New Jersey Democrat Lisa McCormick. “When judicial nominees have expressed outrageous legal views, it raises serious questions about whether they could approach those issues with an open mind in an individual court case.”

As an example, McCormick noted that Bush said in a blog post written under a pseudonym that abortion — which has been declared a fundamental right of women by the US Supreme Court and the United Nations Human Rights Committee — was one of the “two greatest tragedies in our country” (the other being slavery).

Bush and Schiff had each posted anonymous online statements that raise such serious questions about their fitness to serve on the federal bench, NPR’s Nina Totenberg said their hearing might as well have been called ‘The Case of the Bloviating Bloggers.”

“Damien Schiff called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a ‘judicial prostitute.’ John Bush used an anti-gay slur in a speech and cited fringe websites pushing racist birther conspiracy theories about President Obama,” said Baker.

“Both of these nominees have denigrated LGBT people and women’s right to reproductive freedom,” said Baker. “Both subscribe to extreme legal theories that would give billionaires and corporations even more power in our elections. As their hearings made clear, their records are indefensible. The fact that Republicans on the Judiciary Committee were willing to lend their support is frankly embarrassing.”

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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