AFL-CIO letter urging Senators to oppose to the nomination of Damien Schiff to the United States Court of Federal Claims (06/13/17)
"Damien Schiff has a record that demonstrates unbridled hostility toward worker rights. He has argued that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is unconstitutional.... the Senate Judiciary Committee must thoroughly review Mr.
Schiff’s record, which includes a blog posting that characterized Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “judicial prostitute.” Americans deserve an open-minded and fair judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, not one whose
intemperate writing reflects a monumental lack of judgement."
Letter from eleven national organizations to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Ranking Member strongly urging rejection of Damien Schiff nomination to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (06/13/17)
"On behalf of our organizations and their millions of members, we strongly urge you to reject the nomination of Damien Schiff to the United States Court of Federal Claims (CFC). Mr. Schiff has devoted most of his career to advancing an extreme judicial ideology that opposes virtually all forms of environmental safeguards at the federal, state and local levels that are designed to protect the public good. A large part of his career focuses on challenging and redefining the legal precedents regarding what forms of government actions represent “takings” that must be compensated by the federal government under the Constitution. Under Mr. Schiff’s view, nearly all environmental safeguards would qualify as takings, which would make it virtually impossible to protect our nation’s water and air from pollution and would allow most endangered species to slide to extinction.... what makes him unqualified to be a federal judge, are his tactics in public to personally demonize his opponents, to repeatedly call their motives into question, and to attack them in ideologically absolutist terms.... Mr. Schiff’s characterization of the role of government, of public servants, and of the laws themselves is equally hostile." [Letter signed by Amazon Watch; Animal Welfare Institute; Center for Biological Diversity; Center for Food Safety; Earthjustice; Endangered Species Coalition; Friends of Animals; International Marine Mammal Project of Earth Island Institute; Sierra Club; Western Watersheds Project; WildEarth Guardians]
Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee from 16 national advocacy organizations, representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and everyone living with HIV to oppose the nomination of John Kenneth Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the nomination of Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (06/12/17)
"After reviewing the records of Mr. Bush and Mr. Schiff, we have concluded that their views on civil rights issues are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality,
liberty, justice and dignity under the law. Although neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Schiff has any judicial experience, their public statements and writings have repeatedly demonstrated contempt for LGBT
Americans, people living with HIV, women, and other vulnerable populations."
Natural Resources Defense Council letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman and Ranking Member on nomination of Damien Schiff to the Court of Federal Claims (06/12/17)
"Mr. Schiff’s writings frequently attack and denigrate environmental safeguards and the citizens and agencies that seek to enforce them. This perspective, combined with indications that he may bring an extremely rigid judicial philosophy to the court, raises
serious questions about whether he will fairly assess cases involving public health and environmental protections.... Schiff does not reserve his derision for government agencies and environmental groups, but extends it to laws Congress has adopted to protect the environment.... Schiff likewise has advocated for an activist judiciary to implement his views."
Demos, Every Voice, and People for the American Way letter to Senate Judiciary Committee (06/09/17)
"We the undersigned organizations write to oppose the confirmation of John K. Bush to
the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit due to his troubling views on the issue of money in politics. We also express here our concern about Damien Schiff’s nomination to the Court of Federal Claims. ... Damien Schiff’s views on money-in-politics are equally disturbing. The Court of Federal
Claims does not rule on relevant cases, but can be a launching point for future judicial
appointments so we feel compelled to register our concerns at this stage."
People for the American Way letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and Ranking Member in strong opposition to the confirmation of John K. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (06/09/17)
'[B]ased on Bush’s substantive legal positions and the toxic way he engaged in political discourse while hiding behind a mask of anonymity, it is astonishing that he was even nominated.
On legal issues, we are alarmed by some of his comments regarding money in politics.... he made the obvious analytic mistake of thinking that voluntary donations to public funding are, in fact, involuntary. And even if the public funding came from ordinary tax income, his constitutional theory has no support in case law and would serve only to worsen an already serious crisis facing our democracy.... Perhaps even more ominous are Bush’s comments on freedom of the press and freedom of speech about public figures. He has criticized New York Times v. Sullivan, the seminal Supreme Court case protecting media and reporters from defamation suits from government officials they anger, strongly suggesting it was incorrectly decided.... Aside from the substance of his beliefs, the manner in which he has communicated them are not even close to appropriate for someone now seeking to be a federal judge.
People for the American Way Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee strong opposition to the confirmation of Damien Schiff to U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (06/08/17)
"Schiff has spent much of his career litigating against environmental regulations or agency actions, demonstrating an ideological agenda in an area of importance to the Court of Federal Claims. This is particularly problematic because it has taken place against a background of statements ridiculing and impugning the motives of environmentalists.... A nominee cannot malign an entire class of litigants and then expect to be confirmed to any court, .... Schiff’s blog posts are the epitome of the coarse, strident political dialogue that the Chairman stated he was worried about. His baseless and inflammatory attacks against environmentalists are just an example of that. Perhaps most notorious is Schiff’s very personal and vulgar attack on Justice Anthony Kennedy,"
Federal Bar Association Letter to Sens. McConnell & Reid Re: Action on Pending District Court Nominees (09/19/16)
"On behalf of the thousands of lawyers who practice in the federal courts, I write to urge
you to schedule floor votes on the 20 district court nominees pending on the Senate calendar.
These nominees are noncontroversial and have waited significant periods of time for the Senate to act upon their nominations. They have been reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without dispute, and we believe that the process merits them a prompt up-or-down vote."... We note that the corresponding judgeships of more than one-third (7 of 20) of the judicial
nominees who await a final Senate vote are considered “judicial emergencies” by the United States Judicial Conference because of their high caseloads and/or the significant amount of time the judgeship has remained vacant. Action on these nominees is especially warranted.
Plainly the lack of sufficient numbers of judges on our federal courts is costing our
country in dollars and delay. It is money being needlessly wasted. This is not good for any litigant or the state of justice in our nation."
American Bar Association letter to Senate urging prompt floor votes on 20 pending district court nominees (09/06/16)
"I am writing on behalf of the American Bar Association to urge you to address the
backlog of judicial vacancies by promptly scheduling floor votes on the 20 district court
nominees pending on the Senate calendar. These nominees have waited a long time for an
up-or-down vote: twelve were nominated over 300 days ago and six others were
nominated over 200 days ago. The Senate Judiciary Committee found all 20 nominees to
be fully qualified for life-time appointments and reported them to the Senate for final
action with overwhelming bipartisan support. ...Over the course of this Congress, the number of judicial vacancies has almost doubled....With over ten percent of authorized
judgeships now vacant, the prompt filling of vacancies is becoming a matter of increasing
urgency. This is especially true for vacancies that have existed for so long and created
such untenable workloads for the remaining judges on the court that the Administrative
Office of the U.S. Courts has declared them to be judicial emergencies. ... This has real
consequences for the financial well-being of businesses and for individuals who have to
put their businesses and personal lives on hold while waiting for their day in court. ... we urge you to schedule at
least six confirmation votes at a time, as you did in September 2011."
17 National Environmental Groups (including Defenders of Wildlife) CEOs' Letter to Sens. McConnell & Reid on Filling the Supreme Court Vacancy (03/08/16)
"President Obama has announced that he will nominate a replacement for the vacancy on the Supreme Court bench left by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, and we believe the President has a clearly prescribed constitutional responsibility to do so. On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we call on the United States Senate to commit to doing its job by conducting fair confirmation hearings and holding a timely vote on that nominee.... There is ample precedent for a nominee to be confirmed in election years, even when the Senate and White House are controlled by opposite political parties. Willful obstructionism is simply a dereliction of duty, .... For the protection of our air, water, wildlife and lands, a strong and intact judiciary system is as important as ever."