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judges Archives – Concerned Women for America

Justice Barrett Win Should Remind You of the Importance of Your Vote

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Now that Amy Coney Barrett has been sworn in as the 115th justice of the United States Supreme Court, I hope you realize the importance of your vote this coming November 3. There was a time when the U.S. Senate would have confirmed Justice Barrett unanimously. That was the way Justice Antonin Scalia, her mentor, was confirmed, 98–0. By contrast, Justice Barrett was confirmed 52-48. She would have never been confirmed if just a few seats were turned. 

This must become a matter of prayer for us as we focus our attention these last few days. Let us pray, not only for the outcome but also that those who are elected would choose justice over partisan bickering.   

Republicans control the Senate right now 53-47. Democrats would need to pick up four seats to become the majority. There are 34 Senate seats up for a vote. Of those 34 seats, 22 are Republican, and only 12 Democrats. 

Right now, Real Clear Politics has nine races as toss-ups— seven Republicans and just two Democrats. It further has five leaning to remain Republican and three leaning Democrat, with one of them being a pickup from a Republican seat. 

As you can see, there is a lot still up in the air as far as the United States Senate’s makeup which will have significant implications for the confirmation of judges. 

President Donald J. Trump has had historic victories in appointing constitutionalists to federal courts. Still, the gains would not have been possible without a Senate committed to the swift confirmation of qualified nominees. 

The number of cloture votes, which used to be rare in judicial confirmations, and which are practically meant merely to slow down nominees, have surged under today’s hyper-political climate. Seventy-seven percent of President Trump’s judicial nominees were forced to go through a cloture vote. Compare that to just 2.9 percent for President Barack Obama. 

Every way you look at it indicates to us that U.S. Senate races are crucial to justice. The media’s focus on the presidential race is, of course, warranted. The two candidates have very different and contrasting plans for our country.  

But we must not forget that even in some of the areas where they are promising to do this or that, they will need Congress to act before they can do anything.  In the case of judicial nominations, they will need the Senate to exercise its “advise and consent” role. 

One troubling idea that is being pushed by the radical left, namely to pack the Supreme Court by expanding the number of justices, would require the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass legislation for the president to sign. 

Packing the Court would be damaging to an institution that relies on its institutional legitimacy for its role in our form of government. This is why most elected officials, including Democrats, have opposed the idea for decades. Even Vice President Biden has said we would “live to rue the day” if the Supreme Court was expanded. 

Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt actually tried to pack the Court in 1937, but he failed when many in his own party opposed him, saying he would turn it into a political weapon. 

The American people also reject court-packing. This is why today, Vice President Biden has been reluctant to speak of the plan publicly. He has famously said he will answer the question “when the election is over” which is troubling in its own right.   

Many have taken that to mean he will do it. If that is the case, he would need the support of a willing Senate to go along with the plan.  

The bottom line is, we must keep the U.S. Senate in focus as we head into Election Day. 

A Privilege to Support Judge Walker for the D.C. Circuit

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President Donald Trump has given us great judicial nominees throughout his presidency. It has indeed been the best group we have ever seen. The vast majority have a proven track record of being Constitutionalists who are committed to upholding the Constitution and laws as written.

But every once in a while, an exceptional talent comes along that stands out as someone with an extraordinary intellect and understanding of our history and ideals. Judge Justin Walker is such a jurist. He is President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where Justice Kavanaugh used to serve. He currently serves as a federal district judge in the Western District of Kentucky.

As the nation wrestles with the constitutional limits of the power grab many mayors around the country are enjoying as the result of the coronavirus, Judge Walker stands out as a judge who understands the importance of our religious liberties as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Going into Easter weekend, many mayors, including Kentucky’s Greg Fischer, wanted to prohibit Easter services, under threat of law.

On Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, the matter came before Judge Walker. A Church called “On Fire Christian Center” sued to enjoin Mayor Fischer from enforcing an executive order that prohibited them from gathering, even if they observe social distancing and also if they stayed in their cars and did a “drive-in church” service.

Judge Walker saw that for what it was, a great offense to the Constitution. He then proceeded to enter a temporary restraining order enjoining Mayor Fischer and the City of Louisville from enforcing compliance with their prohibition on “drive-in churches.” In doing so, he wrote a magnificent memorandum that showed complete command of the issue and highlighted its importance on our constitutional structure. I commend to you the entire document. Judge Walker did not hold back:

On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion. But two days ago, citing the need for social distancing during the current pandemic, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer ordered Christians not to attend Sunday services, even if they remained in their cars to worship – and even though it’s Easter. The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, “beyond all reason,” unconstitutional.

Judge Walker traced the history of religious discrimination that made us the great nation that we are. He wrote, “The Pilgrims were heirs to a long line of persecuted Christians, including some punished with prison or worse for the crime of celebrating Easter – and an even longer line of persecuted peoples of more ancient faiths.”

He explained the importance of religious freedom and the importance of Easter for Christians. He even showed great sensibility by noting that churches owed no explanation of their beliefs to the government.

The Christians of On Fire, however, owe no one an explanation for why they will gather together this Easter Sunday to celebrate what they believe to be a miracle and a mystery. True, they can attempt to explain it. True, they can try to teach. But to the nonbeliever, the Passion of Jesus – the betrayals, the torture, the state-sponsored murder of God’s only Son, and the empty tomb on the third day – makes no sense at all. And even to the believer, or at least to some of them, it can be incomprehensible as well. But for the men and women of On Fire, Christ’s sacrifice isn’t about the logic of this world. Nor is their Easter Sunday celebration. The reason they will be there for each other and their Lord is the reason they believe He was and is there for us. For them, for all believers, “it isn’t a matter of reason; finally, it’s a matter of love.”

Writing this way, Judge Walker displays great respect not only for the Constitution but also for religious communities (for Christians), which is unfortunately so rare with so many today.

That is why we should be ecstatic to see Judge Walker elevated to the D.C. Circuit. Let us pray for him and the attacks he will surely get for speaking boldly in favor of religious liberty.

Penny Nance with Attorney General Barr

2019, The Year of Judges

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As we continue to pray and fight against the unjust, politically motivated, unconstitutional impeachment of President Donald J. Trump, I want to take a moment and look back at the historic achievement we achieved in the area of judicial nominations. I do not want you to miss the important part you played in making this a historic year for the confirmations of federal judges.

Do not miss it. Your voice, through Concerned Women for America (CWA), is heard in Washington! When we speak on behalf or in opposition to a judge here, every senator knows that we have a mighty army of committed women standing strong for the values we represent. They take note, and they do everything to address the concerns we raise.

Recently, a high-level official sent a note of gratitude to CWA for our work on a very tough nomination calling us, “One of the best groups with which we work.” I know this is in reference to the very strategic, professional, energetic, and graceful way in which you engage at the state level and every time we send a call to action from D.C. Thank you!

Let me give you the historic numbers. I am writing to you as the U.S. Senate has adjourned for the Christmas break and has just confirmed 13 judges in a row to make the total of judges confirmed in 2019, 102. That is the second-highest number for confirmations in one year in U.S. history. All total, we have confirmed 187 under President Trump.

Some of the highlights for this year where you shined through CWA include the recently confirmed Lawrence VanDyke to the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Van Dyke is a Christian conservative with an incredible track record of support for the Constitution as written. Neomi Rao to the D.C. Circuit was also an important nomination that could not have happened without CWA’s influential voice. Let me also mention the important nomination of Attorney General William Barr, just to highlight the fact that your work has been important in the confirmation of important officials beyond judges. As you have probably seen, AG Barr’s contributions to the impeachment battle are becoming more and more important as he exposes the frightening abuse of power at the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) against then-candidate Donald Trump.

But back to judicial confirmations. Fifty of the 187 confirmations for President Trump have been to the Appellate Court, which given the small percentage of cases the Supreme Court takes, end up being more influential in the day to day administration of justice. These confirmations are important.

Three Circuits were totally “flipped” to have more judges appointed by Republican presidents than Democrats: the second, third, and eleventh. That is significant, but progress was made in all circuits.

Eighty were confirmed in district courts and seven more to other specialty courts. Compare that with just six confirmations to the district court in 2017 and 47 in 2018. No Supreme Court battle and an important rule change limiting the time for debate on district court nominees made that historic gain possible.

To compare President Trump’s 187 confirmations so far, consider President Barack Obama had 124, President George W. Bush had 169, President Bill Clinton 166, and President George H.W. Bush had 128 at the same time in their presidency.

But no discussion of President Trump’s legacy when it comes to judges is complete without mentioning Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. These justices are serving with honor and distinction in the highest court in the land, and your involvement through CWA was instrumental to their confirmations.

Judicial Nominations Cap the Trump Legacy

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Right at the top of the list of President Donald J. Trump’s legacy is his amazing work on judicial nominations. In just under three years, the U.S. Senate has confirmed the most circuit court judges in a president’s first term since 1980. With several confirmations this week, one out of every four circuit court judges are now a Trump nominee.

The Senate has confirmed a total of 159 judges with more ready to be confirmed at any moment. Forty-five of those are circuit court judges, 112 to the district court, and, of course, two Supreme Court justices.

This week, the President took some time to celebrate the great work their team has been doing on this front. Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) Vice-President of Government Relations Doreen Denny was at the White House to mark the occasion.

CWA supporters have been crucial in the Trump Administration’s success through our support of the many judicial nominees. The two Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were most prominent, of course.

Which brings us to the most important point about the Trump legacy. It is not about the numbers. It is not about being a Republican or a Democrat. The fact is CWA’s support and the President’s success is worth celebrating because of the type of judges the president has nominated. His commitment to nominating constitutionalists who refrain from interjecting personal policy preferences into the judicial decision has been unwavering. That is why his number will have such a great impact for all Americans, regardless of political persuasion.

When judges are committed to the text of the Constitution and the laws as written, everyone wins. Remember, the danger of the “living, breathing constitution” is not that the Constitution is amended (the Founders indeed provided a way for the Constitution to be amended, since they knew this must happen—that’s what the Bill of Rights is), it is how it is done. For unelected judges to simply amend the Constitution at their pleasure breaks the most fundamental tenets of our Republic. It is “we the people” who are the “supremes” under our Constitution, not unelected judges.

Therefore, with judges who abide by the text of the Constitution and the laws as written, everyone should feel empowered. They are free to persuade their fellow citizens of their preferred policy positions and work through the legislatures to see that those changes are made. To continue to allow judges to implement one side’s preferred policy changes by judicial fiat is to live under judicial tyranny.

President Trump noted this in his remarks this week saying,

“This system was designed to protect citizens against the unjust concentration of governmental power … [but] when judges assume the role of a legislature, the rights of all citizens are threatened. … When judges write policy instead of applying the law, they impose sweeping changes on millions of Americans without the benefit of legislative debate, public rulemaking, or the consent of the governed. As a result, these highly political rulings inflict painful damage on our security, society, and economy—imposing unworkable edicts on businesses, workers, families, and law enforcement.”

That’s music to my ears.

President Trump also noted that the average age of his circuit judges is less than 50 years old—10 years younger than the average age was for President Obama. This means that this legacy will have a lasting effect on the judiciary. We simply cannot overstate how important this is for the protection of our freedoms.

This success should also highlight for us how important the next election will be. Part of the reason for the president’s success was the rule change made by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who opened the door to get rid of the filibuster of judicial nominees. That reality will benefit whoever is in office. If someone committed to judicial activists is elected President, he too would be able to confirm judges at a faster pace, especially if the same party controls the Senate, as President Trump has enjoyed.

This issue must remain at the top of our minds as we consider our choices for the next election.


Mario Diaz, Esq. is CWA’s general counsel. Follow him on Twitter @mariodiazesq.