Trump’s Judges: The GOP’s Slow Poison for Democracy, and the Planet

February 2, 2018

President Trump, no surprise,  is nominating a cadre of the stupidest and most ideologically driven judicial candidates in history.

The moron above had to withdraw – but there’s plenty more where he came from,  and the GOP Senate has been more than happy to pass on the overwhelming majority so far.

Yale Environment 360:

Lawyer Richard Ayres has been fighting for the environment in federal courts for nearly five decades, but he says he’s never seen an onslaught on basic environmental protections like the one coming out of the Trump White House. Still, something scares Ayres even more than the determination of the Trump team to dismantle President Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives, shrink federally protected lands, weaken smog standards, scale back habitat for rare species, and expand drilling into the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

What most unnerves Ayres and other veteran environmental lawyers and legal experts is the unprecedented opportunity President Trump has to fill the federal judiciary with anti-regulatory, pro-business appointees.

Trump has far more openings to fill than previous presidents, and Democrats have far less power to block his nominees than the opposition party has had in the past. And while Trump has trailed his predecessor in nominating officials for the executive branch, he has far outpaced recent presidents in selecting federal judges. So far, he’s nominated 31 judges to fill 140 open slots out of the 890 federal judgeships. By contrast, Obama had 54 openings for federal judges when he took office.

Not only will these judges potentially play a role in upholding Trump’s rollbacks of environmental protections, they likely will remain in their posts for decades after Trump leaves office. Federal judges are appointed for life, and so far Trump’s appointees are younger on average than appointees of previous presidents.

“Trump is going to appoint a lot of judges that will change the complexion of the court system for a long time,” says Ayres, who has been a prominent environmental lawyer since 1970 and was one of the founders of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It very well could be the biggest impact he has on the environment. Imagine another 10 percent of the judiciary filled with Trump appointees. Environmental organizations will fight back and litigate and save some things, but there’s a whole lot of damage that will take forever to repair — if it’s repairable.”

Among Trump’s early nominees is Ralph Erickson for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. As a judge on the U.S. District Court in North Dakota, Erickson in 2015 blocked the implementation of President Obama’s Clean Water Rule in 13 states that had sued the Environmental Protection Agency; the rule expanded federal jurisdiction over certain streams, wetlands, and headwaters. The Trump administration plans to repeal the rule, a move opposed by conservationists but backed by many agriculture, construction, and energy groups.

Alliance for Justice:

On February 18, 2015, Judge John Tinder of Indiana took senior status from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. After Senator Daniel Coats did not return the blue slip for President Obama’s nominee to the court, Myra Selby, on May 8, 2017, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, a professor at the Notre Dame Law School, to fill the vacancy. Alliance for Justice opposes Barrett’s nomination.

Stunningly, Barrett has asserted that judges should not follow the law or the Constitution when it conflicts with their personal religious beliefs. In fact, Barrett has said that judges should be free to put their personal views ahead of their judicial oath to faithfully follow the law. This position is antithetical to the fair and impartial functioning of the federal judiciary. Moreover, Barrett has said that judges should not be bound by stare decisis, the doctrine that requires them to follow well-settled law. Barrett’s extreme view on stare decisis threatens the very foundation of our common law tradition.

Further, it would be hard to overstate the degree to which Barrett’s academic work has been tailored to dismantle Roe v. Wade. Indeed, her belief that a judge can refuse to neutrally apply well-settled law seems to be born of her staunch opposition to a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion.

Moreover, Barrett has very limited litigation experience. Based on her disclosures to the Senate Judiciary Committee, she has never been first chair for a trial and has never argued an appeal. Barrett has never even served as counsel of record in an appellate case.  In addition, her limited legal practice has been highly partisan. For example, she served as an attorney for George W. Bush during Bush v. Gore.

As noted, prior to Barrett’s nomination, President Obama had nominated Myra Selby to fill the same seat. Selby is a former Indiana Supreme Court Justice who spent most of her career at the law firm Ice Miller in Indianapolis. Prior to her nomination, Selby was a highly regarded expert in health care law, earning a spot on the Best Lawyers in America, Health Care law list for seven consecutive years. Senator Joe Donnelly praised Selby’s nomination, saying that she would be a “strong addition to the Seventh Circuit bench” and that she “has been a trailblazer, as the first woman and first African-American to serve on the Indiana Supreme Court and the first African-American partner in a major Indianapolis law firm.” Senator Coats did not return his blue slip, and Selby did not even receive a hearing. Selby would have been the first African American on the Seventh Circuit from Indiana, had the Senate acted on her nomination.




10 Responses to “Trump’s Judges: The GOP’s Slow Poison for Democracy, and the Planet”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Super! Next step: Let Microsoft develop software for vehicles and gain the monopoly there. That would take all vehicles off the roads and save us tons of exhausts. It would force us to buy locally grown (organic) food… A win win win.

  2. Lionel Smith Says:

    Numpty in Chief appoints other numpties to ensure that the destruction of the US of A by self administered toxins is complete and the world turns to China for leadership.

    Well done Pence, Ryan and all others in the GOP who enabled this rolling catastrophe.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      You forgot to cheer the US American electorate, Lionel.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        That would be the electorate that gave Clinton 3 million more votes than Trump?

        • indy222 Says:

          Thjere’s not way that any electorate worth more than a happy turd emoji should have given Trump anything more than 3-4% from the loony bin fringe. No way that electrion should have been close enough to gerrymander to victory. The “electorate” IS the disgrace.

        • Sir Charles Says:

          + the 50% of the electorate who didn’t give a sh!t. What a “democracy” in the “free world”, the “land of freedom”…

          C’mon folks. You deserve to be taken the p!ss off.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            The usual lightweight comment from the sophomore. Had he bothered to do anything beyond let his anti-Americanism take over, he might have done some research—-and discovered that his beloved Ireland and the USA rank very closely in the voting statistics, and neither one is in the top ten. A case of the Green calling the kettle black?

  3. […] Trump’s Judges: The GOP’s Slow Poison for Democracy, and the Planet […]

  4. […] Trump’s Judges: The GOP’s Slow Poison for Democracy, and the Planet […]

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