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Judging the Environment judicial nominations photo

A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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The Senate Just Confirmed an Anti-Gay Blogger to the Federal Judiciary (, 07/20/17)
Mark Joseph Stern: The Trump administration’s assault on LGBTQ rights scored a major victory on Thursday when the Senate confirmed John K. Bush to the powerful 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush, perhaps Trump’s most controversial nominee to the lower courts, has a long history of making homophobic and sexist comments during his years as an anonymous blogger. Yet every Republican senator (except the absent John McCain) voted to confirm him. ... Bush’s record overflows with offensive, archaic, and bizarre comments, many directed toward women and sexual minorities.... In the coming days, the Senate will also vote on Damien Schiff’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which considers environmental and regulatory lawsuits. Schiff has written that the Constitution does not bar states from criminalizing homosexuality. He also declared in 2009 that a California law prohibiting bullying wrongly taught “that the homosexual lifestyle is a good, and that homosexual families are the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual families.” His article was entitled “Teaching ‘Gayness’ in Public Schools.”

Something else for Little Rock to live down (Arkansas Times, 07/20/17)
Arkansas Blog by Max Brantley: Think Progress expects John Bush, a Little Rock native who practices law in Lousiville, to be confirmed as a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in a party line 51-48 vote this afternoon. The article gives some of the many reasons Bush is unfit for the post — anti-gay, anti-women's rights, probably a birther, anti-press ... One point against him is locally relevant: Bush in Senate hearings disclaimed much knowledge of Brown v. Board of Education. Hey, one of the most important cases in the annals of the country happened before he was born. What's a guy to do? He also disclaimed knowledge of "controversy" caused by Brown. The little ol' school dustup in his hometown of Little Rock occurred before he was born, too. Maybe that wasn't controversy. ... Rep. John Lewis perhaps could inform him of a few other controversies that followed elsewhere over requiring schools to serve white and black children equally. And, I should add, the beat goes on in his very own hometown. Sad!

The one area where Trump has been wildly successful (Washington Post, 07/20/17)
Ronald A. Klain: while President Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers.... rump’s picks are astoundingly young.... How conservative are Trump’s picks? Dubbed “polemicists in robes” in a headline on a piece by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, Trump’s nominees are strikingly . . . Trumpian. One Trump nominee blogged that Kennedy was a “judicial prostitute” for trying to find a middle ground on the court, and said that he “strongly disagree[d]” with the court’s decision striking down prosecution of gay people under sodomy laws. Another equated the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, upholding a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, to the court’s 19th-century Dred Scott finding that black people could not be U.S. citizens. Another advocated an Alabama law that denied counsel to death-row inmates.... Republican leaders are threatening to curtail “blue slip” rights that allow senators to block unacceptable home-state nominees; Trump is nominating candidates before they are reviewed by the American Bar Association; Judiciary Committee Republicans are arguing that nominees’ writings, legal representations and public statements are irrelevant to confirmation. Democrats should oppose these changes in the process .... Second, Democrats need to overcome their historic unease about working closely with progressive legal groups.

Senate will vote today on right-wing blogger nominated by Trump for court of appeals (NC Policy Watch, 07/20/17)
Rob Schofield: Bush has recorded his extremist views in a blog full of rhetoric so inflammatory as to call into serious question his ability to serve as an impartial judge. ... he blog is full of personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. He has no particular qualifications for the bench besides his right-wing views.... As Supreme Court expert Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress explains in an excellent post, “this is not normal.” What’s more, Bush’s legal views are extreme on an array of issues

Conservative Political Blogger Confirmed For Seat On Federal Appeals Court (National Public Radio, 07/20/17)
NINA TOTENBERG: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., caustically added that after reviewing Bush's blogs, he was "not impressed." Shortly after the hearing, a clearly disgusted Kennedy said he did not know how he would vote on the nomination, but on Thursday he joined the Senate's other Republican members in voting to confirm the nominee. Few observers thought Kennedy would ultimately vote against Bush's confirmation, in view of the fact that Bush is from Kentucky, and given that, his nomination was made not just by President Trump, but behind the scenes by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. Crossing your own party leader is not something senators like to do, and Kennedy didn't.

Anti-LGBTQ Judicial Nominees: Too Biased for the Bench (Medium, 07/20/17)
Harper Jean Tobin: Unfortunately, Bush is no outlier. President Trump’s pick for a seat in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Damien Schiff, has a record that demonstrates, in the words of a letter joined by NCTE and other LGBT advocates, “plain contempt for the rights of LGBT Americans.” Further, Schiff has flat-out denied the legitimacy of Title IX, a critical federal law that guarantees equal treatment for trans students. The shameless bias that Schiff, Bush, and other nominees freely espouse is simply unacceptable for judicial nominees, for our federal bench, and for our entire system of justice.... Another nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Stephen S. Schwartz, ... helped craft arguments that federal laws offer no protection to trans people. While a lawyer’s choice of client is not, in itself, generally considered a valid ground for criticizing nominees, Schwartz’s involvement in making far-reaching legal arguments in these high-profile cases should prompt close scrutiny of his own views and possible biases.

Senate set to confirm unhinged right-wing blogger to powerful court; The Donald Trump of judges. (Think Progress, 07/20/17)
Ian Millhiser: John Bush is a lawyer who, for many years, wrote for a conservative blog under a pseudonym.... The opposition to Bush’s nomination, which has grown to include every Democrat in the Senate, focuses less on his resume and more on his history of publishing deeply conservative views on a blog run by his wife — as well as similar views offered in various speeches.

Oh, Look. Trump's New Judge Compared Abortion to Slavery. (Esquire, 07/20/17)
Charles P. Pierce: The selection of judges has been outsourced to the Federalist Society and to Heritage—in other words, to the cream of the conservative legal intelligentsia. And this, pretty much, is what you get.... This is not judicial temperament. This is a tryout for drive-time talk radio.

No place for bigotry on the bench (Troy Daily News [OH], 07/20/17)
Sen. Sherrod Brown - Contributing Columnist: This week, I took to the Senate Floor to shine a light on the president’s nominee to join the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, John K. Bush. This man has a clear record of promoting bigotry and discrimination that has no place in our courts, ... We cannot allow the bar to be lowered for what is considered acceptable behavior by members of the federal bench.

PANTS ON FIRE: Trump’s Judicial Pick John Bush Lies to the Senate About Comparing Abortion to Slavery; Unreported testimony shows a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee transparently lied to the Senate about his extremist views. (Daily Beast, 07/19/17)
Jay Michaelson: Bush will become both the most appalling extremist on the federal bench, and a judge who lied to Congress. As has been well reported, Bush has had long career as an extreme right-wing blogger, under his own name and under the pseudonym ‘G. Morris.’ This has led to significant liberal opposition and even a hashtag, #StopBush.. But what has gone unreported until now is how duplicitous, evasive, and outright deceptive Judge Bush was in defending the statements to the Senate, as revealed in the official record of his answers to questions senators posed to him. Bush’s responses to Senators who pressed him on these statements indicate that he is unrepentant, uncooperative, and uninterested in the democratic process by which judges are confirmed.... they are so baldly, shamelessly, transparently preposterous that they cannot be maintained to be true. Which means that he is also a liar.

Trump nominates hyper-partisan conservative activist to NC federal court vacancy: Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned (NC Policy Watch, 07/18/17)
Rob Schofield: the GOP-dominated Senate is moving quickly to approve a bevy of new hardliners – including a conservative blogger from Kentucky named John K. Bush who authored scores of offensive posts under a pseudonym before Trump saw fit to nominate him to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.... Last week, the conservative courts putsch reached North Carolina when Trump nominated a right-wing activist lawyer named Thomas Farr to fill a seat on U.S. District Court for the Eastern District – the oldest vacancy in the federal system. As readers will no doubt recall, the Eastern District seat has stood vacant for more than a decade – including the entire Obama presidency – thanks to Senator Richard Burr’s stubborn refusal to allow either of President Obama’s two nominees to receive a hearing. ... Unlike both of the individuals advanced by President Obama (federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker and veteran state court judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson) Thomas Farr is not an experienced public servant. Rather, he is a lifelong partisan activist who has spent four decades advancing the hard right agenda.... the hard and striking reality that: a) Farr is yet another white male being nominated in an region that has never, in the entire history of the nation, been served by a federal judge of color (both May-Parker and Timmons-Goodson are African-American), b) the Eastern District includes all of the counties in the state that are greater than 50% African-American in population and has the greatest percentage of African-Americans of any region in the state, and c) Farr has dedicated big chunks of his career to abetting controversial conservative efforts with respect to voting rights of African-Americans,

Every LGBTQ Rights Group You’ve Ever Heard Of Opposes Two Of Trump’s Judicial Picks: John Bush and Damien Schiff “would cause grave harm” to LGBTQ people and women, reads a new letter to senators. (Huffington Post, 07/17/17)
Jennifer Bendery: A whopping 27 LGBTQ rights groups on Monday urged the Senate to reject two of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, John Bush and Damien Schiff. In a letter to all senators, groups including Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign say both nominees’ views on civil rights “are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.”

We all expect better than these 2 Trump judicial nominations (Bangor Daily News [ME], 07/16/17)
Opinion by Mary L. Bonauto: the U.S. Senate will vote on whether to confirm John K. Bush and Damien Schiff to the federal bench. Neither man comes close to these standards, and through speeches, blogging and past legal activities, both have demonstrated hostility toward entire groups of people. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should lead the votes against their confirmation and send the message that we all expect better in judicial nominations. Bush has a long history of offensive actions and writings that exhibit stereotyped thinking and hostility toward women and LGBTQ Americans.... Similarly, Schiff’s blogging and legal career demonstrate that he lacks judicially qualifying characteristics as well, epitomized by his reference to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “judicial prostitute.” ... It is time to send a message that we Americans want qualified judges who will give everyone a chance based on the facts and the law. One of those vacancies is here in Maine

John Bush and Damien Schiff are Unfit to Serve as Impartial Federal Judges: Our tweeting president wants these two bloggers to serve on the federal bench. Their writings show they’re both too extreme. (Medium, 07/12/17)
Mike Zubrensky: the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to debate and vote on two of the most demonstrably provocative federal judicial nominees in a generation: John Bush and Damien Schiff. And our Constitution’s system of checks and balances is at stake. The question for the 20 senators who serve on the committee is whether the clearly expressed views of judicial nominees matter at all in their consideration to be federal judges.... The written records of these two judicial nominees are simply stunning.... the Trump White House likely did not know about Schiff’s surreptitious writings until after he was nominated. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also likely did not know about Bush’s troubling writings at the time he recommended him to the White House.... we will learn if 20 senators on both sides of the aisle are comfortable with anonymous bloggers who have clearly demonstrated that they are unfit to serve as impartial federal judges. The Leadership Conference urges senators to reject these two nominees.

Check President Trump (Medium, 07/12/17)
Desiree Tims, League of Conservation Voters: This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to confirm or deny toxic nominees, John K. Bush and Damien Schiff. ... Some of the 22 judicial nominees for lower courts have egregious views regarding clean air, water, and common sense public health safeguards. This is especially true of Damien Schiff, who Trump nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ... Schiff stated that “[the] problem with the [EPA] across the board [is] treating American citizens as if the[y] were not American citizens, [but] as if they were [sic] slaves.”

One of the Biggest Reasons Republicans Stick by Trump: They blocked Obama’s court nominees for years. Now they’re filling those seats, starting a huge shift rightward for the judiciary. (Bloomberg News, 07/10/17)
By Paul Barrett and David Ingold: this congressional pocket veto of Garland, a 64-year-old moderate and chief of the influential U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, was simply the most public manifestation of a longer-term strategy. After gaining control of the Senate in 2015, Republicans made it their mission to slow-walk Obama’s nominations for the lower courts. This effort contributed to the relatively large backlog of 107 vacancies on trial and intermediate-appellate courts that Trump inherited.... Two White House choices that have infuriated Democrats and could make moderate Republicans queasy are John Bush and Damien Schiff. Both men, who are scheduled for a vote before the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as next week, have come under fire for hard-right views they’ve expressed as prolific bloggers.

Trump Judicial Nominee Lies and Obfuscates (Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog, 07/07/17)
Ed Brayton: After a confirmation hearing, judicial nominees are sent lists of questions by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called Questions for Record (QFRs). John Bush, a Trump nominee for a seat on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, lied through his teeth on his and refused to answer easy and obvious questions.... No one could possibly believe these denials. There is one and only one reason why he’s refusing to answer these questions about those cases: Because conservative originalism is opposed to the result in all three of them and that is political suicide. You cannot reach the result of those cases, results that are almost universally accepted by society today, while applying any of the conservative originalist theories of interpretation.

Urge Bush to withdraw | Letter (Courier-Journal [KY] , 07/07/17)
Ed Galloway: Louisville attorney, John K. Bush, has been nominated to become a judge on the U.S. 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. ... I was distressed to learn what Bush's past blog posts reveal about his opinions and prejudices. The inflammatory positions he has taken in social media call his judgment into question and disqualify him from the federal bench. It appears to me that as a judge, he would be destined to exacerbate the divisions that are roiling our country. I am further disturbed by his transparent and ineffective dissembling before the Senate Judiciary Committee as he now tries to distance himself from his own outrageous positions. I’m sure that our senators originally approved this nomination, but I sincerely hope that in light of the revelations about Bush’s past, they will advise him to withdraw from the nomination process. Surely we can find a conservative attorney with measured and judicious views to appoint to this court.

THE LONG GAME: Court Stops Trump & Pruitt From Trashing the Planet—for Now: The latest D.C. Circuit Court decision to halt environmental protection rollbacks shows why Trump’s extreme-right judicial nominees are dangerous in the long run.  (Daily Beast, 07/06/17)
Jay Michaelson: the important role that the courts have played in slowing Trump’s actions on immigration, security, and environmental regulations points to the importance of the federal judiciary generally—and to the extreme candidates that Trump has nominated so far. Trump has continued to draw heavily from the wishlist prepared by the Heritage Foundation, tacking hard right from the judicial mainstream.... Trump has gone beyond previously accepted limits, nominating to one appellate court John Bush, a birther who used a pseudonym to blog wingnut-like rants about President Obama, and to another Damien Schiff, who called Justice Anthony Kennedy “a judicial prostitute.” (Schiff has apologized.) And because of unprecedented obstructionism in the previous congress, Trump now faces a record-high number of vacancies and expected vacancies in the federal judiciary: 38 percent over the next four years. … voters should care. As we’ve seen in the last six months, the independent judiciary may be democracy’s last line of defense.

Op-Ed: Trump’s Supreme Court pick could have negative trickle-down effects (QNS [Queens, NY], 07/06/17)
State Senator James Sanders, Jr.: Since the Senate blocked hundreds of President Obama’s qualified lower court nominees, Republicans now get to pick many of these judges.... Three of them, Kevin Newsom in Alabama, John Bush in Kentucky, and Damien Schiff in the Court of Claims (a national court that hears cases against the government itself), have gone on the record with very rich takes on history. Newsom and Bush say that Roe v Wade is just like Dred Scott. How so? They are both examples of the courts going too far. To quote Bush: “slavery and abortion are the two greatest tragedies in our country.” Meanwhile, Schiff has gone on the record to compare affirmative action programs at universities to, you guessed it, Dred Scott. He has also criticized schools that teach children that homosexual people have the same sense of right and wrong as heterosexual people.

Why Trump Nominees John Bush and Damien Schiff Are Unfit to Be Judges (National Women's Law Center blog, 07/06/17)
Amy K. Matsui: Two individuals that President Trump has nominated to the federal bench have said some shocking, intemperate, inappropriate things on blogs (in addition to making problematic statements in legal articles and briefs).

The Most Important Question for Trump Judicial Nominees: How much executive authority do they think the president has? (, 07/05/17)
Peter M. Shane: Donald Trump’s outsourcing the selection of federal appellate judges, including Supreme Court Justice Neil A. Gorsuch, to the Federalist Society. ... Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, a nominee to the 6thCircuit, wrote approvingly of a President George W. Bush “signing statement” in which Bush indicated he was not necessarily bound by the anti-torture provisions of a 2005 emergency appropriations act…. there are also some nominees who should be deemed utterly disqualified for lack of judicial temperament and explicit hostility to constitutional rights. Damien M. Schiff, a senior attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, has called Justice Anthony Kennedy “a judicial prostitute.” Writing under the pseudonym G. Morris, attorney John K. Bush, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6thCircuit, has written inflammatory and demeaning anti-LGBTQ blog posts for an ultraconservative website run by his wife.

John K. Bush: Would YOU Hire This Man? (People For blog, 07/05/17)
Paul Gordon: Even before his committee hearing, it was clear that President Trump’s nominee to the Sixth Circuit, John K. Bush, has a deeply disturbing record that shows him to be unfit for the bench. His post-hearing responses to committee members’ written questions for the record (QFRs) make it all the more bizarre that he was even considered, let alone nominated, to become a federal judge. His responses are not just unsatisfactory. They are ludicrous. He responded to the Judiciary Committee with 59 pages of dissembling, evasion, and “alternative facts” spanning a wide range of issues. What follows is just a sample.

How bad are Trump's judges? A Little Rock native illustrates (Arkansas Times, 06/29/17)
Max Brantley: We've written before about Little Rock native John Bush, the Louisville lawyer nominated by Donald Trump for a seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He comes Federalist Society-certified, which is bad enough, but his record as an opinion further illustrates his lack of fitness for the bench, particularly when it comes to a demonstrated animus toward gay people and women's abortion rights. He also professed a lack of knowledge or awareness of any divisiveness spawned by Brown v. Board of Education. Yes, a Little Rock native knew of no fallout from the seminal desegregation ruling that ultimately brought federal troops to the city of his birth. An article in his hometown Louisville Courier-Journal, where his wife, also a lawyer, contributes a similar right-winged opinion column, illustrates just how bad Bush is.... he says he really didn't mean all the ugly things he's written. Lying then or lying now? It's a bad bet for an enforcer of the Constitution. Bush's strategy now is to duck questions about his blogging.... He is not alone. Trump has turned his appointments over to the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.

We weren’t fooled by Gorsuch, and we aren’t fooled by his clones (Medium, 06/28/17)
Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project Fellow Yuvraj Joshi: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed this past Monday that he is everything we warned he’d be — opposing equal rights for same-sex couples and eroding the separation between church and state. Now, Donald Trump is trying to stack the federal courts with far-right Gorsuch clones. Two of them — John K. Bush and Damien Schiff — are soon to be voted on by the Senate.... Like Gorsuch, Bush and Schiff have anti-LGBT records.... We weren’t fooled then, and we aren’t fooled now. That’s why we are opposing the nominations of John K. Bush and Damien Schiff.

3 Things You Don’t Know that Democrats Are Thinking About (Blog for Arizona, 06/25/17)
Larry Bodine: Justice Kennedy may step down on Monday and there is no worse time for this to happen. It would open the door up for nominees like Robert Bork, racist Kentucky lawyer John Bush (who equated slavery with abortion) or would-be federal judge Damien Schiff, who says anti-bullying laws are “teaching ‘gayness.'”

The terrifying and terrible prospect of Justice Kennedy retiring (Washington Post, 06/23/17)
Ruth Marcus, Columnist: Kennedy’s retirement would unleash nomination Armageddon ... Justice Kennedy, perhaps it is unfair to pile all this onto your shoulders, but is it really wise to subject an already divided country to even more turbulence? And to another nomination by this president, with his evident ignorance of the role of the judiciary and disdain for judicial independence?... consider, too, the Trump appellate court nominees who came before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month. One, Kentucky lawyer John Bush, nominated to the 6th Circuit, posted pseudonymous writings on a political blog that touched on President Barack Obama’s Kenyan heritage, referred to then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as “Mama Pelosi” and suggested that someone should “gag the House speaker.” In another post, Bush described slavery and abortion as “the two greatest tragedies in our country” and said they “relied on similar reasoning and activist justices at the U.S. Supreme Court, first in the Dred Scott decision, and later in Roe.”...Another nominee, Damien Schiff, nominated to the Court of Federal Claims, used a different blog to denounce anti-bullying efforts for “teaching ‘gayness’ in public schools,” and to criticize the court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas — that’s your ruling, Justice Kennedy — striking down state laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy. Oh, and also, to observe that “it would seem that Justice Kennedy is (and please excuse the language) 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.” Justice Kennedy, does the president who chose this man really deserve to name your replacement?

Donald Trump Is In The Perfect Position To Dramatically Remake The Courts: With 100+ judicial vacancies and a Senate eager to fill them, conservatives are salivating. (Huffington Post, 06/22/17)
By Jennifer Bendery, Alissa Scheller: the main reason is Republicans’ years-long strategy of denying votes to Obama’s court picks. They refused to recommend judicial nominees, filibustered others, used procedural rules to drag out the confirmation process and, by Obama’s final year, blocked nominees they had recommended just to prevent him from filling more seats.... Trump nominated [John] Bush, 52, last month to a lifetime post on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Progressive groups are vowing to fight his confirmation given some of his past remarks, which include comparing abortion to slavery and referring to them as “the two greatest tragedies in our country.” Bush has also said he strongly disagrees with same-sex marriage, mocked climate change and proclaimed “the witch is dead” when he thought the Affordable Care Act might not be enacted. Damien Schiff, also a member of The Federalist Society, is Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. ... He came under fire for calling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy “a judicial prostitute” on a blog several years ago. He has also criticized efforts to prevent bullying of LGBTQ students, referring to messages of equality as “teaching ‘gayness’ in schools,” and has argued that states should be allowed to criminalize “consensual sodomy.”... Blue slips are more of a committee tradition than a hard rule, but chairmen typically uphold it. Grassley’s predecessor, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), stuck by the practice for years when he was chairman ― even when Republicans routinely abused it to block Obama’s nominees. He suspects Grassley will abide by the tradition, too. “Sen. Grassley made it very clear that he appreciated what I did when there was a Republican president and Democratic president, applying the blue slips,” Leahy told HuffPost. “He told me he was going to follow the same procedures as chairman. And I take him at his word,” he added. “I’ve known him for over 30 years. He’s never broken his word to me.”

Trump is picking judges to swing the courts hard right for a generation (Daily Kos, 06/22/17)
Laura Clawson: courts have stood in the way of some of Donald Trump’s worst abuses. But he can change that—and he’s working on it. Trump inherited 108 judicial vacancies, thanks in large part to Senate Republicans having obstructed former President Obama’s nominations.... And he is nominating the hardest core of the hard right, essentially building a pipeline from the Federalist Society to the federal bench

Trump’s first judicial nominees: a right-wing blogger, an anti-gay lawyer, and two Obama holdovers (Quartz, 06/21/17)
Lola Fadulu: Many of these seats are vacant because the Republican-controlled Senate refused for several years to start the nomination process for president Barack Obama’s nominees, often after state senators vetoed the candidates. ... Civil rights advocates say some of Trump’s early nominees are troubling because they lack diversity, both racially and professionally. ... John Kenneth Bush is Trump’s nominee for the Sixth Circuit.... While blogging, he consistently cited WorldNetDaily, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed an extremist group for peddling conspiracy theories and white nationalism, including the lie that Obama was not born in the United States.... Damien Schiff, Trump’s nominee for the US Court of Federal Claims, called Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute” in a post. Schiff also strongly disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which ended punishment for sodomy. And he criticized a school district for teaching students that homosexual families and heterosexual families are equally moral.... Trump’s nominees include two Obama nominees, David C. Nye and Scott L. Palk, whose appointments expired