Editorials and Opinion
Column: Trump, GOP take aim at courts (Detroit News [MI], 09/26/17)
Nan Aron: The party-line confirmation of John Bush to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, ... demonstrates that the Republican majority cares little whom they confirm. Bush had written blog posts that routinely demeaned women and LGBTQ people, and recycled racist “birther” theories targeting President Obama. ... In Wisconsin, Trump ignored the state commission that has vetted federal judicial nominees for decades when he nominated an ally of Gov. Scott Walker for the Seventh Circuit. There’s talk of halting the century-old “blue slip” tradition allowing home-state senators to weigh in on nominations .... Larsen isn’t the only nominee with a controversial record: in Indiana, there’s professor Amy Coney Barrett ... Then there’s Damien Schiff, nominated for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Schiff attacked the integrity of U.S. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, calling him a “judicial prostitute.” The list goes on.
Another Day, Another Comically Unfit Judicial Nominee: Trump judicial nominee rails about "Satan's plan." (Above the Law, 09/25/17)
Joe Patrice: when applied to judicial nominations, the calculus rings true: the administration should be judged — and judged harshly — more by its failures than any successes. These are lifetime appointments to positions that wield incredible power. ... So far they’ve been wrong… a lot more than once.
These days, attention is shifting to Jeff Mateer, a nominee for an Eastern District of Texas seat. after punching his ticket at the First Liberty Institute, one of those non-profit advocacy centers dedicated to the principle that “liberty” means the right of everyone in this great nation to deny basic human rights to gays. ... This isn’t a slip up. Stuff like this doesn’t happen in spite of vetting, it happens because of it. ... It’s one thing for a lawyer to defend conservative causes, like, say, Paul Clement. It’s a whole other thing for a lawyer to rail against the march of constitutional rights as part of “Satan’s plan” and have this outburst serve as justification rather than disqualification from office. But again, this isn’t the first black eye for the Trump team. John Bush? Damien Schiff? When observers can plausibly say a federal appellate nominee is at best a blogger with a law degree and at worst a 4chan troll with a Martindale entry, then the sanctity of the whole endeavor is, rightly, tarnished. It demeans every nomination.
Mateer’s Nomination is a Brazen Attack on LGBTQ Americans: And it continues a dangerous Trump administration trend. (Medium, 09/22/17)
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: [Jeff] Mateer, of course, isn’t Trump’s first nominee to harbor anti-LGBTQ bias. Several of his Cabinet nominees, including Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, and Ben Carson, have dark histories of opposing LGBTQ rights. The same is true for many of Trump’s judicial nominees, like Damien Schiff, John Bush, Stephen Schwartz, and Joan Larsen. ... Mateer’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is an assault on our nation’s ideals of equality and inclusion and must not move forward. If it does, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights coalition will be here to fight back
While You Weren’t Looking, the Senate Has Been Rubber-Stamping Trump’s Extreme Judicial Picks: Senate Judiciary committee chair Charles Grassley has abandoned Senate custom to push through Trump’s extreme nominees. The worst may be yet to come. (Daily Beast, 09/21/17)
Jay Michaelson: Contrary to rumors about a rift between Trump and Senate Republicans, every nominee thus far has won the party’s unanimous support. ... Sen. Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who chose not to give a hearing to Judge Merrick Garland or 59 other Obama nominees, has again departed from decades of Senate practice to expedite the hearing process for circuit court appointees. First, Grassley has stacked multiple nominees together into a single hearing, making it extremely difficult to properly vet and question any of them.... nominees had been “stacked” previously only when the minority party agreed to do so. ... But Grassley’s most audacious move may be yet to come. Rumors have circulated that he is considering doing away with so-called blue slips, the customary requirement that senators from a nominee’s home state both agree to the nomination. Like most rules of the Senate, blue slips are only a custom—but it is a custom that dates back over a century and is an important part of the system of checks and balances.... Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Attorney General Jeff Sessions withheld blue slips frequently during the Obama years to block judicial nominees they didn’t like ... the nominees Grassley is rushing through the Senate were chosen by Trump’s outsourced ideologues at the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation ... a nominee who called Justice Anthony Kennedy a “prostitute.” These aren’t conservatives—they’re wing nuts.... Finally, these ideologues’ motives are entirely explicit. Leonard Leo, Trump’s adviser on the judiciary who is managing the think-tank-to-court pipeline, said in May that “I would love to see the courts unrecognizable.”
Obergefell Is Already Under Attack: Trump is laying the groundwork to overturn marriage equality. (Slate.com, 09/20/17)
Mark Joseph Stern: The latest confirmation of this goal arrived on Wednesday, when CNN revealed that a new Trump district court nominee, Jeff Mateer, recently condemned LGBTQ people in dehumanizing terms.... Trump nominated Mateer to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas earlier this month. On the same day, the president also nominated Matthew J. Kacsmaryk to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Mateer and Kacsmaryk are colleagues at First Liberty Institute, a conservative legal advocacy group that opposes LGBTQ rights, including nondiscrimination measures that protect gay and trans people. Although Kacsmaryk’s public statements are not flamboyantly bigoted, his choice of employment suggests that he shares Mateer’s beliefs about LGBTQ rights. A third nominee, Stephen S. Schwartz, has devoted much of his career to defending anti-trans measures in court. Trump wants to place him on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
Will the Senate confirm Mateer, Kacsmaryk, and Schwartz? I don’t see why not. In July, Senate Republicans pushed through John K. Bush, an anti-gay blogger and conspiracy theorist who used the word faggot in a speech. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have also approved Damien M. Schiff, a lawyer who declared in 2009 that a California law prohibiting bullying falsely taught “that the homosexual lifestyle is a good, and that homosexual families are the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual families.”
A Confederacy of Dunces (Shelia Kennedy [IN professor blog], 09/05/17)
"The one area in which he has sent numerous nominees to be confirmed is the Judiciary, and those nominees are terrifying. Two examples:
John Kenneth Bush, Trump’s nominee for the Sixth Circuit ... Damien Schiff is Trump’s nominee for the US Court of Federal Claims. He has called Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute” ... When “elitism” is defined as expertise, and people who know what they are doing are for that reason disqualified, ideology and incompetence fill the void."
Will Trump’s Enduring Legacy Be a Right-Wing Judiciary? The president is moving at a rapid clip to put ideological allies on the bench. (Moyers & Company, 08/25/17)
Susannah Jacob: Donald Trump chose Michael Brennan to fill an open seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. In doing so, he broke with a 38-year-old Wisconsin tradition.
For decades, when the 7th Circuit seat meant for a Wisconsin judge opened up, a bipartisan state commission voted on a jointly agreed-upon list of judicial nominees for the president to consider.... Trump went ahead and selected Brennan, a former Milwaukee County judge who is a close ally of Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker. In 2011, while serving on a committee to help Walker select state-level judges, Brennan co-authored an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel supporting Republican efforts to block Obama’s nominee to the 7th Circuit Court — a nominee who would have sat in the very seat for which Trump has nominated Brennan.... Republican senators support Trump’s nominees, despite spoken hesitation.
For instance, during his nomination hearings, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) found 52-year-old judicial nominee John Bush problematic. “I’ve read your blog. I’m not impressed,” Kennedy told Bush. ... Schiff would oversee environmental and agency lawsuits. In the past, he’s accused the Environmental Protection Agency of treating Americans “as if they were just slaves” and recommended selling Yosemite National Park to the Walt Disney Company because they’d “do a damn better job, I think.”
He also moonlights as a blogger. In one post, he called Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute”
Senators Against White Supremacy: Time to Match Rhetoric to Votes on Nominees (Medium, 08/22/17)
Kyle Barry, NAACP LDF Policy Counsel: So far, however, the Republican-controlled Senate has served as a rubber stamp for Trump’s nominees, propelling into power judges and executive officials selected precisely because they will advance Trump’s broader anti-equality and anti-civil rights agenda. ... every Republican Senator (save for the absent John McCain) voted to confirm John Bush to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush’s record includes a surfeit of sexist, homophobic, and racist comments, and support for discriminatory policies. ... There is a nominee to the Court of Federal Claims, Damien Schiff, who once wrote that he would have “objected to an anti-racism curriculum being taught in 1950s Arkansas” because at that time the propriety of racism remained debatable. He also wrote that Supreme Court decisions upholding affirmative action repeated the same mistakes of Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the “separate but equal” doctrine, and Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the internment of Japanese Americans. Two other nominees, Thomas Farr to the Eastern District of North Carolina and Stephen Schwartz, another Court of Federal Claims nominee, defended North Carolina’s package of voting restrictions that the Fourth Circuit found “target[s] African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
What We’re in Danger of Losing (New York Times, 08/17/17)
Linda Greenhouse, Op-Ed: the Senate has devoted time to confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees, some of dubious merit. Last month, on a party-line vote of 51 to 47, the Senate confirmed a Kentucky lawyer, John K. Bush, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Under the pseudonym G. Morris, Judge Bush was a regular blogger on a conservative site called Elephants in the Bluegrass, on which he shared his opinion that Roe v. Wade was one of “the two greatest tragedies in our country”; the other was the Dred Scott case, the decision that denied American citizenship to slaves. The Senate has been slower to approve another Trump nominee, Damien Schiff, a staff lawyer for the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation nominated to the United States Court of Federal Claims, perhaps because on his own blog he called Justice Anthony M. Kennedy a “judicial prostitute.”
In Wake Of Trump, Liberals Start To Realize They’ve Had The Judiciary All Wrong: Conservatives seem to ignite more passion for the judicial appointments... progressives are changing that. (Above the Law, 08/11/17)
Joe Patrice: at Netroots Nation ... two big themes stood out that challenged the way left-leaning people have talked about courts for years and, in the process, bridged the gap of those competing visions from last year.
First, the judiciary cannot be a progressive issue in and of itself — all other progressive issues must be framed through the courts. Rather than say “courts are important,” activists need to seize on issues that are already stirring people, and then connect those issues to the courts ... Second, Professor Crenshaw pointed out the elephant in the room: the Federalist Society set out years ago to create a platoon of ideologues to populate the judiciary that would be capable of passing any neutral test of “qualifications.” ... The fact that Democrats are starting to recognize that résumés cannot salvage people deeply unsuited for the bench is a testament to nominees like Judge John Bush of the Sixth Circuit and Damien Schiff — and if you haven’t watched their hearings, you really should treat yourself.
Trump's Nominees for the Courts Are Horrifying and Dangerous (The Advocate, 07/28/17)
Trudy Ring: Damien Schiff ... whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims is still pending. “Rarely has there been a nominee who is so sorely unfit to serve as a judge,” says Alliance for Justice’s online report on Schiff. And a letter by Lambda and other LGBT groups urging the Senate to reject Schiff says he “has gone beyond merely disagreeing with the judicial precedents that serve as the foundation of the LGBT community’s legal security and progress, and has denigrated LGBT people in ways that suggest that he is simply incapable of administering the law with respect to LGBT people without bias or prejudgment.”...he has called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy “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.” He has deemed Earth Day “a threat to individual liberty and property rights,”
Trump’s Anti-Environment Judicial Nominees Could Lead to Polluted Air and Water (Center for American Progress, 07/27/17)
Billy Corriher: The president has recently nominated two young lawyers—both under 40 years old—with a history of working for groups tied to the Koch brothers and other polluters to 15-year terms on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
The first nominee, Damien Schiff, is a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a group that often sues the federal government when the government seeks to enforce environmental laws. Like another recently confirmed judicial nominee, Schiff has a history of writing blog posts that denigrate LGBT people and even Supreme Court justices. A few months ago, he wrote that Earth Day is “a threat to individual liberty and property rights.” Schiff once said that the EPA treats American citizens like “slaves” during an interview on CNN.... The nominations of Schwartz and Schiff are in line with the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda.... If they are confirmed, Schwartz and Schiff could make it easier for oil companies and other corporations to sue the EPA or other government agencies for compensation when regulations cost them money.
LGBT Rights Groups Adamantly Oppose Judicial Nominees (Findlaw, 07/25/17)
U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog by William Vogeler: If attorneys John Bush and Damien Schiff were running for office, they might have been well-suited to serve in the Republican-controlled Congress.
Bush has made politically polarizing comments about issues such same sex-marriage, abortion, and women's rights. Schiff has publicly disparaged gays and even said states should be allowed to criminalize consensual sodomy.
But Bush and Schiff are in the running for judicial appointments. ... Schiff has been more transparent in his blogs.
For Schiff, that was a problem. He called Justice Anthony Kennedy, who present for the hearing, a "judicial prostitute."
The Senate Just Confirmed an Anti-Gay Blogger to the Federal Judiciary (Slate.com, 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.”
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.... Trump’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.
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.
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.
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).
Trump Nominee Damien Schiff Proves He's Unqualified to be a Judge (People For blog, 07/06/17)
Paul Gordon: Damien Schiff, President Trump’s nominee to the Court of Federal Claims … when he was nominated, it was clear from his long and troubling record that the Judiciary Committee should reject Schiff’s nomination. His recently submitted responses to committee members’ written questions for the record (“QFRs”) provide new reasons that he should not be confirmed. On issue after issue, Schiff rebuffs questions that were prompted by his own writings and statements, including in his confirmation hearing.
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.
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.
The Most Important Question for Trump Judicial Nominees: How much executive authority do they think the president has? (Slate.com, 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.
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?
Trump reshapes the lower federal courts with little progressive scrutiny (The Hill, 06/23/17)
Jonathan R. Nash: While the Court of Federal Claims, and nominees to it, generally attract little attention, Trump’s two nominees to the court thus far suggest an effort to increase the likely success of Takings claims against the government and thus to augment the protection of private property rights against government infringement.
Last month, the president nominated Damien Schiff, who has been serving as a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a self-described national conservative/libertarian public interest law firm that has argued in favor of a broad understanding of compensable Takings.
The president’s new nominee to the court, Stephen Schwartz, has similar experience.
Before entering private practice, Mr. Schwartz served as counsel to Cause of Action, a public interest law firm that professes its “advoca[cy] for economic freedom and individual opportunity advanced by honest, accountable, and limited government.”