Letter to the Senate: 27 National LGBT Groups Oppose Confirmation of John K. Bush and Damien Schiff (07/17/17)
"We, the undersigned 27 national advocacy organizations, representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and everyone living with HIV, write 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. 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 not only an extraordinary lack of judgment but also plain contempt for the rights of LGBT Americans, people living with HIV, women, and other vulnerable populations. Their evasive responses to straightforward questions from
your colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee only confirmed our assessment that they should never have been nominated—and should not be confirmed—for a lifetime appointment on the federal bench."
Letter to the Senate from 22 women’s organizations; reproductive health, rights and justice organizations; and civil rights organizations in strong opposition to the nomination of Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (07/17/17)
"Mr. Schiff, a prolific blogger and attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, is stunningly unfit for the federal bench. As an initial matter, his record amply demonstrates his lack of judicial temperament. He has impugned advocates whose views he does not share,1 raising serious questions about whether he will treat all litigants coming before him with respect and impartiality. He has made numerous outrageous and inflammatory statements, including referring to Justice Anthony Kennedy as “a judicial prostitute,”2 which are inconsistent with the judicial role.
In addition, Mr. Schiff has demonstrated hostility to core women’s rights and civil rights, raising serious doubts as to whether he would approach these and related issues with an open mind, follow precedents with which he disagrees, and decide cases involving those issues strictly based on the law and the facts."
National Women’s Law Center letter to Senate Judiciary Committee urging Senators to oppose the nomination of Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (07/06/17)
"Mr. Schiff is spectacularly unfit for the federal bench. A prolific blogger, Mr. Schiff has made numerous intemperate statements, including referring to Justice Anthony Kennedy as “a judicial prostitute, ‘selling’ his vote as it were to four other Justices in exchange for the high that comes from aggrandizement of power and influence, and the blandishments of the fawning media and legal academy.”1 He has also impugned advocates whose views he does not share,2 raising serious questions about whether he will treat all litigants coming before him with respect and impartiality.
Mr. Schiff has expressed an extremely troubling view of the role of the judiciary as the driver of policy"
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]
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."
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."
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."
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 opposing Ninth Circuit split (05/16/17)
"We write to provide the views of the Federal Bar Association on legislative proposals
pending before the Senate to restructure the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After review,
the Federal Bar Association considers such proposals unnecessary, costly and not in the
interests of the efficient administration of justice."
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."