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MERRICK GARLAND: 638 EDITORIALS BY OVER 300 EDITORIAL BOARDS IN EVERY STATE & DC URGE SENATE TO HOLD A HEARING AND VOTE ON NOMINEE TO FILL SUPREME COURT VACANCY – STATE BY STATE LINKS/EXCERPTS (as of October 13, 2016) (, )
These 638 Editorials by 301 newspaper editorial boards in all 50 states and DC represent well over 95 percent of the newspaper editorial board opinions revealed by comprehensive online research. Click State names on first page for Editorial Board links/excerpts for each State.

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.”

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

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’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

Trump’s Most Lasting Legacy? America’s courts—presently a thorn in the president’s side—are about to get a lot more conserve ative. And they will probably stay that way for a very long time. (Atlantic, 06/21/17)
Alex Wagner: John Bush, a nominee to the 6th Circuit federal appeals court and Damien Schiff, a nominee for the federal Court of Claims.... are two of President Trump’s thus far 21 picks for the nearly 130 vacancies on the federal bench, an excess of open slots that exist mostly because of unprecedented Republican resistance to the confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees. ... Given the extraordinary power of the courts today—especially as a check on the legislative and executive branches—a judicial branch populated with men like Bush and Schiff could mightily shift the political landscape of the United States, well after Trump has left office. Both Schiff and Bush arrived at their hearings carrying excess baggage in the form of controversial writing. Bush, a corporate lawyer, had previously .... cited, by way of a source, World Net Daily — a website that the Southern Poverty Law Center characterizes as “devoted to manipulative fear-mongering and outright fabrications designed to further … paranoid, gay-hating, conspiratorial and apocalyptic visions.”... Schiff’s most notable post was the one in which he labeled Justice Anthony Kennedy “a judicial prostitute”... the relatively young age of his stable could cement in place a conservative judiciary for decades to come.

Trump’s Finally Filling the Judicial Back Bench with Some Questionable Rookies: Some of his nominees run into trouble with their snarky blogs. Remember kids that stuff you write online never really goes away. (Moyers & Company, 06/21/17)
"President Trump has a great opportunity to determine the character of the federal bench. Because the Senate only confirmed 20 of Obama’s nominees during his last two years in office, (less than a third of the number confirmed during the last two years of Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush) he has a slew of vacancies to fill.... John Bush, a 52-year-old 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky, and Damien Schiff, a 37-year-old nominee for the US Court of Federal Claims from California, made headlines when they were quizzed about their social media presences. What the president is to Twitter — these guys are to blogging in the Senate. Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick lays out the questionable posts in detail: ... But the real drama lies in the Q and A of the hearings. NPR’s Nina Totenberg has a fuller rundown"

7 Reasons Feminists Should Resist John Bush’s Appointment to a Federal Bench (Ms. Magazine, 06/20/17)
Ciarra Davison: President Trump nominated Kentucky lawyer John Bush for the 6th Circuit Court. With the power to make important decisions regarding the well-being of citizens—including persecuted communities—the position of a federal judge must not be considered lightly. Unfortunately, Bush has proven himself to be a dangerous nominee. For these seven reasons and more, feminists should resist Bush’s appointment....

Trump Judicial Nominee Promoted Work Of Right Wing Conspiracy Theorists in Blog Posts (Right Wing Watch, 06/20/17)
Safiyah Riddle: At hearings last week on the confirmation of John K. Bush to a lifetime seat on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, a nomination which People For the American Way has opposed, Bush was forced to defend a blog post he had written citing WorldNetDaily, a website infamous for promoting the birther conspiracy theory. But that wasn’t the only incidence of Bush relying on radical right wing sources in his stint as a blogger .... At best, Bush’s frequent citation of these far-right commentators was irresponsible—in which case, one must call into question his ability to discern fact from unproven conspiracy theories. At worst, he knew exactly who he was citing and chose to do so anyway.

Edit Memo: Trump’s Judges: This is Not Normal (People For blog, 06/20/17)
Paul Gordon: The nominations of John K. Bush and Damien Schiff are truly bizarre, and their confirmation would spread the decay of our democratic norms into the judicial branch, the most important bulwark we have against Trump’s overreaching and corruption. Both men have records so atrocious that it’s amazing they could even be considered for the federal bench. PFAW has explained why the Judiciary Committee should reject Damien Schiff’s nomination to the Court of Federal Claims and why John K. Bush should not be confirmed to the 6th Circuit. Here is a quick summary ... In any other administration, these men would never have made it through the vetting the process. And in any other time, even if they somehow were nominated, they would face unanimous opposition from the Judiciary Committee.

Liberals Hope To Take Down Trump’s Judicial Nominee With A Controversial Blogging Past (BuzzFeed, 06/19/17)
Zoe Tillman: At a Senate hearing last week for one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, John Bush, the harshest criticism came from an unexpected source: a Republican. ... Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed Bush about his controversial writings as a pseudonymous conservative political blogger, including his comments comparing abortion to slavery, and posts about President Obama’s Kenyan heritage. ... But when it was Sen. John Kennedy’s turn to speak, the Louisiana Republican, ... had only one thing to say. “Mr. Bush, I’ve read your blogs,” Kennedy said, shaking his head. “I’m not impressed.” ... North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis did say he had “concerns” about Bush’s blogging. He asked if Bush believed that impartiality on the bench was an aspiration or an expectation. “[Impartiality] is an aspiration,” Bush said. “I will do my best to be impartial.” That was not the answer that Tillis was looking for. “I actually have a concern with someone who thinks that impartiality is aspiration. I think it’s an expectation,” Tillis said. Notably, the lone member of the Senate Judiciary Committee whom Bush directly criticized in his blog posts, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, wasn’t at the hearing.

Despite its other failures, GOP poised to move courts to the right (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 06/19/17)
Steve Benen: Many conservatives who recognized Trump’s profound flaws last year voted for him anyway because they wanted to move the judiciary to the far-right, and they knew a Republican White House and a Republican Senate could deliver, filling vacancies McConnell created by blocking Obama-era nominees.... they’re embracing jurists who are ridiculous even by 2017 standards. Indeed, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick had a striking piece the other day, explaining that the White House and Senate Republicans are advancing “polemicists and bomb-throwers, performance artist lawyers who have spent their intellectual lives staking out absurd and often abhorrent legal positions.” In a 2007 post on his personal blog, [37-year-old Damien Schiff, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims] wrote, “It would seem that Justice [Anthony] Kennedy is (and please excuse the language) a judicial prostitute, '" ... John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky, is in some ways worse. ThinkProgress noted last week that the conservative jurist used his blogging platform to highlight, among other things, content from WorldNetDaily, a fringe conspiracy theory website.

Meet One of Trump’s New Judicial Nominees (Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog, 06/19/17)
Ed Brayton: A lawyer named John Kenneth Bush has been nominated by Trump for a spot on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Michigan, and he has a long track record of quoting fake news and making outrageous claims in a blog he wrote under a pseudonym.... his excuse, offered with a straight face: I was being “political” and a judge is never political, so it’s all cool.... If I were on the Senate Judiciary Committee, here’s the question I would have asked after he said that: “Mr. Bush, precisely how stupid do you think we are?” His blog promoted birtherism and all manner of bizarre, racist claims. He also has written that New York Times v Sullivan, an absolutely crucial ruling in protecting freedom of the press in this country, was wrongly decided. ... It was a 9-0 decision, which tells you how far outside the judicial mainstream this guy is.

WATCH: Al Franken hammers Trump judicial appointee for pushing ‘conspiracy theories and white nationalism’ (Raw Story, 06/17/17)
Bob Brigham: A conservative attorney seeking approval after President Donald Trump nominated him to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ran into a buzzsaw on Thursday when Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) confronted him with his history of pushing racist conspiracy theories online. Judicial nominee John Kenneth Bush posted over 400 blog stories under the alias ‘G. Morris’ that included links to such dubious publications as World News Daily.

Trump Is Appointing Racist Fake News Purveyors to the Federal Bench: A radical transformation of the judiciary is underway.  (Nation, 06/16/17)
George Zornick: this week featured some remarkable moments as Democrats pressed several appointees of President Donald Trump on their exceptionally radical views. Trump nominated John K. Bush, a lawyer from Louisville, to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. ... he frequently espoused phony stories from paranoid right-wing internet corners, including those that advanced the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. He often quoted stories from WorldNetDaily.... Damien Schiff, Trump’s nominee for the US Court of Federal Claims, also ran a blog ... he called Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute.” ... This was too much for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who made it clear he thinks Schiff was nominated because of his far-right views, particularly on the rights of corporations, ... Trump is rapidly filling up the federal bench, which is relatively barren thanks to eight years of Republican obstruction in the Senate. ... And the records of his nominees are unprecedented. Kristine Lucius worked for fourteen years as a top legal and policy adviser to former Senate Judiciary Chairman and ranking member Patrick Leahy. She is now an executive vice president at the Leadership Conference, and told The Nation she was shocked by the Schiff and Bush nominations. “I’ve literally worked on hundreds of judicial nomination hearings, and I have never seen one with records like this,” she said. “I have found it stunning that two individuals with this kind of controversial written record made it through the vetting process.”

Another day in Trumplandia: A fake-news blogger is tapped for the federal bench (Newsworks , 06/16/17)
NATIONAL INTEREST A BLOG BY DICK POLMAN: the two bomb-throwing bloggers who appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yup, bloggers. In their day jobs, John Bush and Damien Schiff are attorneys; in their off hours, they've indulged their incendiary ids and told people what they really think. ...Schiff, who works for a conservative legal foundation and has been tapped for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, once wrote in a post that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is "a judicial prostitute," .... Schiff and Bush both insisted that whatever they've blogged in the past would in no way influence their thinking on the federal bench — a fascinating argument, because it basically suggests that the donning of black robes would magically cleanse their minds of all their gut beliefs. It also implies that confirmation hearings are a waste of time, that senators should ignore a nominee's track record .... given the fact that John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer tapped for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals, had repeatedly written blogs that drew material from fake news websites ... well, Franken didn't think that was very good judgment.... he can't explain whether or to what extent he judged the "news" sources to be fake or true. Thanks to Franken's questions, it would appear that Bush gave us a glimpse of his true self.

Al Franken grills Trump judicial nominee for spreading fake news: “That’s disturbing” (Shareblue, 06/15/17)
Dan Desai Martin: Donald Trump nominated a far-right Kentucky lawyer a federal appeals court seat. At his confirmation hearing, Sen. Al Franken exposed his terrible judgment — including citing websites that peddle in white nationalism and conspiracy theories.... “One of the qualities I look for in a judge is judgment,” Franken said. He then started his questions to the rightwing blogger seeking a seat on the circuit court by asking about judgment and how Bush decided to site World News Daily, a site Franken described as “a website known for peddling conspiracy theories, fake news, and white nationalism,” in his posts. It went downhill for Bush from there, who squirmed and struggled to defend his judgment in relying on a fake news site for his far-right writings.... Despite Franken asking the same question multiple times, Bush was not able to explain why he would use a racist fake news site to write his “political statements.”... Anyone who peddles in conspiracy theories and flirts with white nationalist websites has no business being nominated, let alone confirmed, to a federal court.

Amid Trump Chaos, Republicans Keep Their Eyes on the Big Prize: The Courts "Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement... for decades," Corey Robin wrote (Common Dreams, 06/15/17)
Jake Johnson: Republicans have their collective gaze fixed on a prize they have coveted for years: complete domination of the judiciary.... Three of the finalists—Kevin Newsom, Damien Schiff, and John Bush—sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for their confirmation hearings .... Since the hearings came to a close on Wednesday, commentators have expressed alarm about how little attention the fact that individuals with such records could soon fill the ranks of the judiciary is receiving

Senate should hold court nominees to a high standard (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 06/15/17)
Doug Clark: yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for a couple of court nominees. It was extraordinary, according to reporting by NPR, Politico and Alliance for Justice. Senators of both parties seemed dismayed by past statements or writings of John Bush and Damien Schiff, both nominated by Trump. Schiff, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, once referred to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as a "judicial prostitute"... Bush, nominated to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, has written extensively on his wife's blog, embracing alt-right notions, including the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. "Mr. Bush, I've read your blogs," Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said. "I'm not impressed."... Bush and Schiff don't seem much like Neil Gorsuch, Trump's highly qualified and temperate nominee for the Supreme Court. I hope the Senate will set an appropriately high standard for all lower-court candidates, and that the public will pay attention.

Polemicists in Robes: The president’s latest batch of bomb-throwing judicial nominees will transform the federal bench for generations to come. (Slate.com, 06/15/17)
Dahlia Lithwick: Given the option to put up any number of nominees with moderate temperaments and conservative but sane academic or intellectual records—conservatives in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s successful choice for the Supreme Court—the decision seems to have been made that these jobs should instead go to polemicists and bomb-throwers, performance artist lawyers who have spent their intellectual lives staking out absurd and often abhorrent legal positions. On Wednesday, three of them had a turn before the Senate Judiciary Committee [including] 52-year-old John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky; and 37-year-old Damien Schiff, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ....

Trump can stack the judiciary for years. That's why Republicans stick with him (Guardian News and Media, 06/15/17)
Corey Robin: So what keeps the Republican party, particularly the elite sectors, with Trump? I’ve begun to think it all comes down to the judiciary. Trump has gotten one supreme court appointment, he may well get more, and he’s moved more quickly on lower-court appointments than Obama did. The legal arm of the conservative movement is probably the best organized, most far-reaching and far-seeing sector of the right. They truly are playing – and have been playing – the long game. Control the supreme court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement, no matter how popular it is, no matter how much legislative power it has, for decades. It may seem ironic that a movement that came to power on the basis, in part, of a populist surge against “activist judges” would come to rely upon the judiciary as its most dependable weapon. But it’s not ... Going back to the rotten boroughs and lords of early 19th-century Britain, the right has long relied upon the least democratic sectors of the state. With this embrace of the judiciary as its last bastion of power, the right has come home.

Senators Grill Trump Judicial Nominees On Provocative Blog Posts (National Public Radio, 06/15/17)
Nina Totenberg: Trump has more than 130 judicial vacancies to fill on the federal courts. The number is unusually large because Republicans blocked dozens of Obama appointees — including uncontroversial ones .... At Wednesday's hearing, the two nominees found themselves trying to explain hundreds of their own blog posts, posts they admitted were "intemperate" and "political." The posts included material ranging from radical rants, to conspiracy theories and false allegations.... John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, said he regretted some of his 400-plus posts, all published under a fake name .... While Bush adopted an apologetic tone, a second nominee, Damien Schiff, was far more confrontational. Schiff, a senior attorney with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation in California, is nominated to sit on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He has a long record challenging everything from environmental regulations, to health and safety laws, to gay rights laws. In one of his many blog posts, Schiff called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a "judicial prostitute."...Schiff accused Kennedy, who often casts the fifth and deciding vote in closely divided cases, of "selling his vote ... to four other justices in exchange for the high that comes from the aggrandizement of power and influence, and the blandishments of the fawning media." Schiff only marginally backed away from those words on Wednesday. "The point of that blog post was not to impugn or malign any person," he insisted, "but rather to attack a certain style of judging that is frequently applauded in the media."

Commentary: Three of Trump’s extreme judicial nominees get hearing; Tillis actually expresses concern about at least one (Progressive Pulse [NC], 06/15/17)
Rob Schofield: If you want to see and be profoundly depressed by the views of three of the men recently nominated by Donald Trump to the federal judiciary, check out the video of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing considering the nominations of John Bush and Kevin Newsom to be federal appeals court judges and Damien Schiff to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, all three men — and particularly Bush and Schiff — go to extreme and downright laughable lengths to pretend that their past lives as right-wing advocates dispensing extreme views (Schiff called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute” in a blog post) are completely irrelevant to their new gigs. .... Bush ... even drew some mild rebukes from a couple of Republican senators. Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told Bush “I’ve read your blogs. I’m not impressed.” He also asked Schiff to apologize for his attack on Justice Kennedy — a demand to which Schiff readily acceded.... Tillis then tossed out the soft ball question: “Do you think that impartiality is an aspiration or an absolute expectation?” When Bush, rather surprisingly and clumsily said that he saw it as an aspiration, Tillis disagreed. “I actually have a concern with someone who thinks that impartiality is an aspiration. I think it’s an expectation.” Newsom was only too happy to avoid Bush’s blunder and parrot Tillis’ opinion.

Another Bad Bush. (Free Thought Blogs, 06/15/17)
Lakin Ogunbanwo: John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily ... There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard

The Most Important Senate Hearing You Didn’t Hear Anything About This Week: It’s always a bad sign when a judicial nominee has to begin his hearing with an apology. (Huffington Post, 06/15/17)
Sammie Moshenberg: Kevin Newsom appeared thanks to the fact that Alabama senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby refused to return their blue slips, signing off on President Obama’s nominee, Judge Abdul Kallon who would have been the first African-American to sit on the 11th Circuit from Alabama.... John K. Bush attracted most of what questions could be squeezed in during the single round of five-minutes per senator.... Sen. Franken hammered Bush on his reliance on racist fake-news sources. Bush refused to answer why he used such a widely discredited source. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), one of the more conservative committee members, humphed that he was not “impressed” by his blogs.... Damien Schiff from the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) got his turn.... Schiff had called Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute,” a remark that was universally decried and certainly raised the question about his legal temperament. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) observed that if an Obama nominee had insulted Justice Kennedy that way, “the other side’s hair would be on fire!” A staff attorney at the Koch Brothers-funded Pacific Legal Foundation which is devoted to undoing the ‘regulatory state’ established by the New Deal, Schiff shares the PLF’s animosity towards environmentalists, the EPA, OSHA, labor unions, and any campaign finance laws (a partial list).... Senator Franken was openly incredulous at Schiff’s piece “Teaching Gayness in Public Schools” which excoriates anti-bullying curricula.

More Terrible Federal Judges on Their Way: Three right-wing blogging judges are likely on their way to the federal bench (Storify, 06/14/17)
Jessica Mason Pieklo [detailed Tweeting of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominees John K. Bush, Kevin Newsom and Damien Schiff]

The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees: On Wednesday, three of those nominees will appear before the Senate. Together, they evince a deep hostility toward civil rights. (Politico, 06/14/17)
Kyle Barry, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.: Trump’s initial nominees to fill more than 120 lower court vacancies—many of which exist only because the Republican Senate refused to act on the qualified nominations put forth by President Barack Obama—foretell a Trump-stacked judiciary that would clear the way for constitutionally suspect executive actions, shield corporate wrongdoers from accountability, and imperil the civil rights of all Americans.... On Wednesday, three of those nominees will appear before the U.S. Senate: Kevin Newsom, an 11th Circuit nominee from Alabama; John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky; and Damien Schiff, a nominee for the federal Court of Claims. Together, they evince a deep hostility toward civil rights.... Bush is shocking in his blatant disdain for equal rights and animus toward racial and other minorities. ... Schiff may be the most extreme. He has already received attention for calling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute" ... Schiff provided his own take on Dred Scott—saying that the court’s dead-letter affirmation of slavery is no different from efforts to remedy segregation and increase diversity.... In three separate instances, Trump has named a white nominee to replace an African-American Obama nominee the Senate failed to confirm. This is true even in those positions with an especially fraught racial history.

Trump Judicial Nominee Forced To Defend Blog Post Citing Birther Website (Right Wing Watch, 06/14/17)
Miranda Blue: One of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees was forced during his confirmation hearing today to defend a blog post he wrote that extensively cited the “reporting” of WorldNetDaily, a conservative website that was a primary driver of the birther conspiracy theory about President Obama. John K. Bush of Kentucky, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has been nominated to sit on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, has a troubling history for a potential federal judge, including once using an anti-gay slur in a speech. ... Bush’s use of WorldNetDaily as a source of information, especially about the topic of President Obama’s Kenyan heritage, raises major alarm bells about his judgment and impartiality. Sen Al. Franken addressed this during an exchange with Bush at today’s hearing, in which Bush repeatedly refused to answer how he goes about deciding what is a reliable source of information.

Thoughts on Today’s Judiciary Committee Hearing [Damien Schiff] (Vetting Room, 06/14/17)
Harsh Voruganti: Walking into this hearing, Damien Schiff was likely the easiest nominee to oppose, given his inflammatory writing, including his reference to Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “judicial prostitute.”... Sen. Franken seriously questioned Schiff’s blogging. Schiff’s explanation that the term was intended to criticize the media’s reporting on the Supreme Court (an explanation that falls apart the moment you actually read the entire post) was never challenged.

Little Rock native gets rough ride at judicial confirmation hearing UPDATE (Arkansas Times, 06/14/17)
Max Brantley: John Bush, the Little Rock-born Louisville lawyer and conservative blogger nominated for a federal judgeship by Donald Trump, had a rough time at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination. From Think Progress on the hearing today: ... "Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history. “Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer. “I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”" Whew. This from a nominal legal scholar from LITTLE ROCK, where the division was so evident three years after Brown that troops were called in! ... Lots more provided by Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney for Judging the Environment.... Lot of links to troubling background on Bush here at Judging the Environment. In another Arkansas angle, the Alliance [for Justice] notes another problem nominee by Trump, Damien Schiff to the court of claims. He's another homophobe based on public record who called Justice Anthony Kennedy a judicial "prostitute." The local angle is that Sen. Tom Cotton was a one-man wrecking crew for all five appointments Obama tried to make to the overworked court of claims. Cotton contended no slots needed to be filled. Now that there's a homophobic nut case on offer, will Cotton still block presidential appointments to the court? Much more on Schiff here. [link to Judging the Environment]