On June 15, People For the American Way, Alliance for Justice, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, Demand Justice, and other fair court allies hosted a virtual rally to oppose the nominations of D.C. Circuit nominee Justin Walker and Fifth Circuit nominee Cory Wilson to our federal courts.
Walker’s and Wilson’s records and scholarship demonstrate their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, our constitutional right to vote, and their support for expansive executive power – and Senate Republicans are fast-tracking these judicial nominees in the midst of a national movement for racial justice and a global pandemic.
PFAW Executive Vice President of Policy and Program Marge Baker, Alliance for Justice Director of Outreach Keith Thirion, and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Field Director Cedric Lawson moderated the event. They kicked off the event with remarks about the importance of activism in a moment in which we are dealing with many crises at one time: the president’s leadership failures in the midst of a public health crisis that disproportionately impacts communities of color, a national reckoning with systemic racism and its impacts on policing, and the far-right takeover of our courts. Now more than ever, the commitment of activists, including PFAW members, to strengthening our democracy and holding senators accountable for their votes to confirm right-wing extremist judges is crucial to building an American way that works for everyone.
In her remarks, Baker highlighted how irresponsible advancing these nominees is during this time of national upheaval, especially in the absence of action by Senate Republicans on racial injustice, the economic crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As she emphasized, “It is difficult to convey exactly how immoral it is that Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues are spending precious time advancing these harmful nominees… the clear partisan biases these nominees will bring to the bench” will have lasting impacts on the federal judiciary for decades to come.”
Speakers from the NAACP, Lambda Legal and other groups echoed Baker’s warnings about the threats that Walker and Wilson pose to executive power, civil rights, and access to health care. They noted that Walker has blasted past Supreme Court precedent upholding the Affordable Care act as “catastrophic” and that Wilson claimed during his confirmation process that voter identification laws don’t disproportionately impact people of color.
Senators Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Robert Casey (D-Pa.) also joined the rally and spoke to their Republican colleagues’ failure to prioritize the economic, public health and racial justice crisis over such dangerous nominees. After thanking People For the American Way for its leadership on pushing back against the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Schumer spoke to how “Americans want action” on these three core crises. His remarks highlighted the hypocrisy present in Senate Republicans’ floor remarks emphasizing the need to act on these connected crises while spending time advancing judges that want to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, our civil rights laws, and our social safety net.
Read more about PFAW’s opposition to the nomination of Justin Walker here. Read more about PFAW’s opposition to the nomination of Cory Wilson here.