The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to resume confirming federal judges on Tuesday after returning to session on Monday. First before the committee is Kentucky appellate Judge Justin Walker, a favorite of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, under consideration for confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Leader McConnell's unwavering commitment to confirming qualified judges remains intact, as he vowed to "leave no vacancy behind."
A former clerk for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh and former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Judge Walker’s nomination embodies President Trump’s promise to transform the federal judiciary by stacking the bench with jurists who are committed to the rule of law.
Walker’s nomination stirred upset from Democrats, in hopes of keeping a conservative jurist off of the D.C. Circuit, known as the second highest court in the land. Walker’s nomination received a “well-qualified” rating from the American Bar Association (ABA) which is accepted as a litmus test for jurists:
The ABA has rated Judge Justin Walker “Well Qualified” for the DC Circuit. pic.twitter.com/vwdGVOy8FG— The Article III Project (A3P) (@Article3Project) May 5, 2020
"Based on interviews and a review of his scholarship and— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) May 5, 2020
other writings, the Standing Committee believes that Judge Walker possesses a keen intellect, and his writing ability is exemplary...
This well-qualified rating from the liberal ABA shows that those opposing Justin Walker are either a far-left ideologues or obstructionists looking to block qualified nominees who will fairly apply the law.— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) May 5, 2020
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) publicly opposes Judge Walker’s nomination, citing Democrats’ usual alarmist talking points used to knock President Trump’s nominees; Sen. Schumer previously characterized the ABA’s rating as the “gold standard” for judicial nominations:
This is a national emergency.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 5, 2020
But Sen. McConnell has scheduled no floor votes on COVID-19 bills.
Instead the Senate GOP's focused on nominations and unqualified, right-wing judges.
That includes Justin Walker, a McConnell protégé who argued against our health care law.
"The ABA's evaluation is 'the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged,'" Sen. Schumer said previously.
While the Senate minority melts down over Judge Walker’s confirmation hearings, far-left activist group “We Demand Justice,” headed by former Hillary Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon, launched a smear campaign against Judge Walker’s nomination. Fallon and his group, which exists solely to derail confirmations of qualified, conservative jurists, claim that Leader McConnell pressured Judge Thomas Griffith, who currently holds the seat that Judge Walker is slated to fill, to retire.
The Senate should not consider Trump's nominee to the second most powerful court in America until the judiciary has concluded its investigation into what Mitch McConnell did to create the vacancy.— Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) May 4, 2020
Our statement: pic.twitter.com/LnDZMxOhBK
Judge Griffith, an appointee of George W. Bush, refutes this and contends that he made the decision to retire in June of 2019, in consultation with his family, before announcing his retirement in March of this year:
Judge Thomas Griffith tells NPR's @NinaTotenberg he faced no political pressure to retire, and that he made the decision in June 2019, refuting the allegations in a Demand Justice complaint first detailed by @hillhulse yesterday: https://t.co/nIInU2fJAa— Susan Davis (@DaviSusan) May 5, 2020
There is no substantive reason for Democrats to oppose Judge Walker’s nomination, between the support of the left-leaning ABA and his impressive judicial resume. Judge Walker’s elevation to the D.C. Circuit will mark the 194th federal judge nominated by President Trump and confirmed by Leader McConnell’s Senate majority; 1 in every 4 circuit court judges are nominees of President Trump.