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In Rush to Pack the Federal Courts, the Senate has Missed the Point of the Process

National Council of Jewish Women
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Washington, DC 20036-4206

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In Rush to Pack the Federal Courts, the Senate has Missed the Point of the Process

November 3, 2017, Washington, DC – The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) today expressed its disappointment with the US Senate’s disregard for the longstanding vetting and approval process that has in the past sought to ensure our federal courts are filled with justices committed to equality and justice. NCJW CEO Nancy K. Kaufman released the following statement:

“The White House and the Senate majority have been pushing a right-wing, unpopular legislative agenda for nine months and have been stopped at every turn. Instead of recognizing that their positions on crucial issues of health care, immigration, and civil rights are unpopular and wrongheaded, they have turned to undermining the last frontier of decision-making in this country — the independent third branch of government, the courts. And instead of taking this process seriously by giving senators the time to properly vet and vote on nominees, Senate leadership has pushed those nominees through the process in record time.

“This week alone, four appeals court nominees made their way through the Senate. They are all conservative extremists and Americans are rightfully concerned about their elevation to lifetime appointments to the federal bench, just below the US Supreme Court itself.

“Amy Coney Barrett has argued that Supreme Court precedents can be set aside if a justice disagrees with them and she suggested that a judge may put her religious objections to issues ahead of established law.

“Joan Larson has argued that a president should have the authority to disregard laws passed by Congress.

“Justice Allison Eid is known as one of the most conservative members of the Colorado Supreme Court. Her record on issues such as voting rights is disturbing at best, discriminatory at worst.

“Stephanos Bibas, the final nominee rammed through this week, has written extensively about criminal law, arguing that for many crimes, ‘the default punishment should be non-disfiguring corporal punishment, such as electric shocks.’ He also suggested ‘putting offenders in the stocks or pillory, where they would sit or stand for hours bent in uncomfortable positions. Bystanders and victims could jeer and pelt them with rotten eggs and tomatoes (but not rocks).’

“Thinking members of the Senate have understandable objections to each of these four nominees, as well as many who preceded them and many others to come. But the Senate leadership, led by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), insists on truncating the process in the hope that new judges can save some of the most offensive of the Trump administration’s failed measures, including the Muslim ban, dismantling the Affordable Care Act, and barring transgender individuals from serving in the military. No federal judge has yet agreed with the administration’s executive actions on these issues —but if the Senate majority can pack the courts with unqualified and dangerous ideologues, maybe they’ll find one who will.”

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.

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