March 3, 2020
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Committee Members:
The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) writes to express its strong opposition to the nomination of Stephen Schwartz to the US Court of Federal Claims. Schwartz has worked to uphold voter suppression in North Carolina, fight against immigrant rights in Florida, and resist transgender rights in Virginia. He defended the state of Louisiana against constitutional challenges to seven bills that severely restrict access to abortion care enacted in 2016 by the state legislature. He also represented Louisiana’s efforts to restrict women’s access to abortion care by requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital if they perform abortions, even though the Supreme Court has already struck down an identical Texas law. Schwartz’s alliance with the right would severely undermine the court’s appearance of neutrality. Until last year, Schwartz worked at the far-right Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit legal advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers.
Notably, Schwartz has no experience practicing before the Court of Claims. Given the unique nature of this court, having practiced before it should at least be a baseline for consideration. This career opponent of civil rights lacks the requisite experience to be elevated to the federal bench. While his term would be set at 15 years, a seat on that court could be a stepping stone to a lifetime appointment.
As if Schwartz’s lack of experience and history of partisanship were not sufficiently disqualifying, his writings from 2001 – 2005 surely are. During his time at Yale, Schwartz wrote that Social Security should be abolished because economic disparity “is a natural aspect of the human condition.” He summarized his own writings by stating, “I’ve argued that abortion is wrong, that racial preferences in college admissions are dangerous, that gay marriage should stay illegal, that immigration should be curtailed.” Schwartz’s nomination is, quite simply, proof positive that this administration and Senate are bent on turning our nation’s judiciary into a deeply political body, despite the intentions of this country’s founders.
NCJW believes that seats on our nation’s judiciary must be reserved for experienced jurists committed to equality and justice for all. Accordingly, we strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against the confirmation of Stephen Schwartz to the United States Court of Federal Claims.
Chief Policy Officer
National Council of Jewish Women