People For the American Way

“Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” Highlights December Rulings


Contact: Press Department at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: (202) 467-4999

Washington, D.C. – As People For works on issues related to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the upcoming Presidential transition on January 20, as well as on promoting a strong, fair, and effective response to the coronavirus crisis and the ongoing problems of police misconduct and racial discrimination, we have continued our research and reporting on the troubling votes and decisions by Trump appellate judges and justices. Our focus is on the broad, systemic impact of such rulings and opinions, beyond their effect on individual litigants.  Linked below are posts concerning 24 cases from PFAW’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series for December 2020.

Several trends emerge from the December cases: five Supreme Court and other cases where Trump nominees cast disturbing votes to try to continue to implement Trump policies, and four raising serious concerns about attempts to give special preference to religion in the context of the current pandemic. Specifically:

  • As was the case last month, although even Trump judges have rejected Trump’ s troubling efforts to try to overturn the results of the November election, a number of them have voted to continue to carry out some of Trump’s restrictive policies. These have included rulings and votes by Trump justices and judges to support Trump Administration efforts to put as many federal prisoners to death as possible before January 20; to exclude undocumented immigrants from census counts for reapportionment purposes, which time has now prevented from succeeding; to further restrict immigration; and to limit emergency food assistance due to the pandemic.
  • In four December cases, Trump justices and judges tried, and sometimes succeeded, in granting special exemptions to religious institutions from public health restrictions due to the pandemic. For example, two Trump Sixth Circuit judges ruled that religious schools should be exempt from a county order that temporarily closed all public and private schools at certain grade levels due to serious pandemic-related health concerns.

All these cases and more, including cases concerning police misconduct and worker and other civil rights, underline the importance of judicial nominations as a critical issue and the importance of efforts after January 20 to counteract harmful decisions by Trump judges, including through legislation and by confirming fair-minded constitutionalists with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights as federal judges. These cases have all been entered in our Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears tool, which you can search by judge or by issue.