In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Cory Wilson to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as Justin Walker to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. NCJW strongly opposes both of these nominations. At any time, these nominees would be unacceptable, but in the middle of a national public health crisis, they are particularly abhorrent. Wilson is vocal about his disdain for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his wish to invalidate it, which would eliminate protections for 130 million people with preexisting conditions and take away health insurance from 19 million Americans. Walker has repeatedly praised Justice Brett Kavanaugh for his criticism of the ACA and attempts to dismantle it. As we navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unthinkable that the Senate would confirm circuit court judges bent on taking away access to health care.
Read more about the nominees’ troublesome records and use the form below to send a message to your senators urging them to reject these dangerous nominations.
Cory Wilson to the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit:
- Lack of judicial temperament: Wilson frequently takes to Twitter to repeat partisan rhetoric; he has called a US Congresswoman a “claptrap,” complained about “Crooked Hillary,” and repeatedlydisparaged President Obama.
- Anti-health care: In one op ed, Wilson saidthat “[h]opefully the [Supreme] Court will overturn Obama” with regard to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He also called the ACA “illegitimate” and “perverse”.
- Anti-abortion: Wilson calledRoe v. Wade the “result of a liberal activist court.” As a state legislator, he voted for a severely restrictive “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
- Anti-LGBTQ:Wilson voted for a bill that would allow public and private businesses to legally refuse service to LGBTQ people based on the owner’s religious belief.
- Pro-gun: Wilson votedto authorize concealed carry of firearms on any public property as well as carry of firearms in places of worship.
Justin Walker to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit:
- Lack of political independence: Walker conducted 162 press interviews defending Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for whom he once served as a law clerk. In one article, he wrote that Kavanaugh “would be a forceful conservative justice for decades to come.” In July of 2018, Walker told Fox News that Kavanaugh would be “a warrior” and “a fighter for conservative legal principles who will not go wobbly.” Walker was seemingly rewarded for his loyalty to conservative causes with a nomination to the US District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. At his swearing-in ceremony on March 13, 2020, he fist-bumped Kavanaugh.
- Lack of experience: Walker was rated “Not Qualified” by the non-partisan American Bar Association (ABA) in July of 2019 after he was nominated to the district court. The ABA specifically noted that “Walker’s experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any significant trial experience. Mr. Walker has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal.” Walker was nonetheless confirmed by the Senate on a party-line vote.
- Anti-health care: In an article, Walker defended “Kavanaugh’s thorough and principled takedown of the [ACA’s individual] mandate,” calling it “a roadmap for the Supreme Court.” Walker also praised Kavanaugh’s dissent arguing that the contraceptive coverage benefit of the ACA was unconstitutional.
Federal courts are the last line of defense for our constitutional rights, and the judges who sit on them must be fair and independent. If confirmed, Wilson and Walker will have lifetime seats on courts one step below the US Supreme Court and will continue to interpret and control constitutional rights long after the Trump administration ends. For the sake of our courts and our rights, the Senate must reject the nominations of Cory Wilson and Justin Walker.