Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sign the petition: Block Trump’s white supremacist judges

When it comes to the federal courts, the white supremacist in the White House is winning. Donald Trump is setting a record pace of nominating young, extreme right-wing judges for lifetime appointments to the bench.1 Extremist Republican senators, with the help of some Democrats, are upending Senate precedent to jam through those nominees as fast as possible.2
Letting Trump stack the courts while he and his administration are under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government was bad enough. Now that Trump, a public racist for much of his adult life,3 has stood with the violent white supremacists and Nazis who terrorized Charlottesville, pardoned racist civil rights abuser Joe Arpaio and killed DACA, it is even more appalling.4
Former Phoenix sheriff Arpaio is a racist bigot who grew famous for his abuse and dehumanization of Latinx and immigrant communities. He was convicted in July of criminal contempt for refusing to abide by a judge’s order to stop violating the civil rights of the Latinx people he and his department regularly racially profiled and harassed.5 Trump’s pardon makes clear that he has no respect for our courts and the rule of law. Combined with his shameful response to Charlottesville and the end of DACA, it should mean the end of business as usual in Congress, especially when it comes to the nominations and appointments that could institutionalize Trump’s hateful agenda for generations.
We depend on the federal courts to protect civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights and the environment. For the last eight years, Republicans – eager to shred the social safety net, roll back civil rights and advance corporate power – stalled and blocked confirmation of President Obama’s nominees. Thanks to their obstruction, Trump has 136 vacancies to fill.6 Now, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving his nominees through as fast as they can. Some of the Democrats on the committee are refusing to use their power to slow them down. It has to stop, now.
The statistics7 on Trump’s nominations are chilling:
  • He has nominated 27 federal judges in his first six months, three times more than Obama “and more than double the totals of Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton – combined.”
  • Before Trump, no president had had more than three judges confirmed in his first six months. Trump has had nine.
  • The average age of Trump’s nominees is 48, compared to 55 for President Obama’s early nominees. “That means, on average, Trump’s appellate court nominees will sit through nearly two more presidential terms than Obama’s.”
  • Given the number of judicial vacancies, and the pace of nominations and confirmations, “in just one more year, one-eighth of all cases filed in federal court [could] be heard by a judge [Trump] appointed.”
Those numbers are only part of the picture. Unsurprisingly, Trump’s nominees have a history of championing the causes of right-wing extremists:
  • Damien Schiff once called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a judicial prostitute, resisted efforts to prevent anti-LGBTQ bullying in schools and opposed affirmative action.8
  • John K. Bush had a long side career blogging under a pseudonym. In his posts, he called abortion a “national tragedy” and repeated the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States.9
  • Kevin Newsom equated Roe v. Wade with the Dred Scott decision upholding slavery and stated his regret that the Supreme Court made it unconstitutional to execute juveniles.10
Senate Democrats, along with any of their Republican colleagues who have a moral conscience, should step up to block and resist these conservative extremists who come from the fringes of the right wing, not ensure that Trump’s right-wing hate lives for decades after his presidency. That’s why we are joining with our friends at Daily Kos, UltraViolet Action, Color Of Change, Presente, Democracy for America and Friends of the Earth to bring massive pressure on them to do the right thing.
Recently, a number of Senate Republicans have tried to distance themselves from the worst of Trump’s post-Charlottesville racism. Some, such as Tennessee Sen Bob. Corker went as far as questioning Trump’s “stability” and “competence” to carry out the duties of his office.11 Arizona Sen. John McCain poignantly blasted his pardon of Arpaio (emphasis ours):
“The president has the authority to make this pardon, but doing so at this time undermines his claim for the respect of rule of law.12
However, their words are meaningless if they continue to enable Trump’s white supremacist policies, practices and appointments. By pushing through Trump’s judicial nominees, they are helping to ensure that a bigot’s legacy lives for generations. We have to do everything we can to highlight the stakes of their choice and force them to stop handing the courts to a white supremacist.
We must hold Democrats accountable too. Even though they do not have the numbers to block Trump’s nominees, keeping Trump from being able to fill even a portion of the total vacancies could limit the damage he inflicts on our courts. Senior members of the Judiciary Committee like Sens. Feinstein, Leahy and Klobuchar must commit to total resistance, denounce Republican efforts to speed up the process and do everything in their power to block the confirmation process. Instead they seem to want to maintain the decorum of the Senate and give Trump a chance.
Recently, Sen. Feinstein – the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee – offered an appalling and delusional endorsement of the white supremacists’ lawless commander in chief when she stated that he “can be a good president.”13 This is beyond unacceptable. With the courts at stake, Democrats must act like an opposition party that represents the majority of the American electorate and fight back with a firewall of resistance against Trump’s right-wing takeover of the federal courts. Can you add your name today?
Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: No lifetime judicial appointments for a white supremacist in chief with no respect for the Constitution or the rule of law. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
  1. Ronald Klain, "The one area where Trump has been wildly successful," The Washington Post, July 19, 2017.
  2. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, "LDF Statement in Response to September 6 Senate Judiciary Committee Confirmation Hearing," Aug. 31, 2017.
  3. Jesse Berney, "Trump's Long History of Racism," Rolling Stone, Aug. 15, 2017.
  4. Matt Ford, "President Trump Pardons Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio," The Atlantic, Aug. 25, 2017.
  5. Ricardo Pérez-Peña, "Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Is Convicted of Criminal Contempt," The New York Times, July 31, 2017.
  6. "Judicial Vacancies," United States Courts, updated Aug. 31, 2017.
  7. Klain, "The one area where Trump has been wildly successful."
  8. Kyle Barry, "The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees," POLITICO, June 14, 2017.
  9. Dahlia Lithwick, "Polemicists in Robes," Slate, June 15, 2017.
  10. Barry, "The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees."
  11. Taylor Link, "Brian Stelter opens Sunday show by asking if President Trump has a mental 'illness,'" Salon, Aug. 20, 2017.
  12. Ford, "President Trump Pardons Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio."
  13. John Wildermuth, "Feinstein surprises SF crowd by expressing hope for Trump," SFGate, Aug. 30, 2017.

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