The Democratic-controlled Senate is poised to approve another slate of President Biden’s judicial nominees with a history of working for left-leaning organizations that represent abortion interests, the gun control lobby, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The judicial nominations are Biden’s way of “paying back the left-wing dark money groups who spent over a billion dollars to help elect him and Senate Democrats,” Carrie Severino, president of Judicial Crisis Network, told Fox News Digital.
“These nominees will happily deliver the left’s policy preferences from the bench, regardless of the law,” Severino added. “If confirmed, they will be some of the most radical judges in the country.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee in an executive business meeting Thursday approved about two dozen nominees on a mostly party line vote, now awaiting final confirmation by the Senate. Several of the nominees are coming up for another vote under Democrats’ bolstered majority, since the Judiciary Committee was tied in the last Senate.
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These include Julie Rikelman, the U.S. litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights, to serve on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico.
Rikelman argued for the abortion industry in two separate Supreme Court cases, according to the Alliance for Justice, a liberal legal group.
She argued the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as her clients lost their case to block a Mississippi abortion restriction. Before that, she separately argued the case of June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo regarding a Louisiana abortion restriction.
Biden also nominated Nancy Abudu, a former strategic litigation director for the Southern Poverty Law Center after working for the American Civil Liberties Union, to serve on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Biden’s nomination prompted the Republican National Lawyers Association to take a rare action in formally opposing the nominee to the Judiciary Committee.
“RNLA has only formally opposed one other judicial nominee made by the Biden Administration,” the group’s letter to senators said. “We oppose Ms. Abudu because her views and rhetoric go beyond that of even progressive activists, and we see no reason to believe that she will be an impartial judge on the ‘hot button’ issue of election law.”
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The group was troubled by Abudu’s comparison of restriction on felon voting rights with slavery.
“As we’ve seen in the cases of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others, it is a criminal justice system that can literally kill you,” Abudu wrote in December 2020. “When you add laws that prohibit people with a criminal conviction from voting, it’s practically the same system as during slavery – Black people who have lost their freedom and cannot vote. And without access to the ballot, a victim of the system cannot elect the very officials pulling the levers to hire the police, determine which cases are prosecuted and what sentences are imposed.”
A coalition of progressive groups that includes voting organizations and abortion advocates in those states endorsed her nomination in a January 2022 letter.
“Her work, first in Florida with the ACLU and later with SPLC in Alabama, focused on providing legal representation to those least able to represent themselves,” the groups said in the letter to senators. “She will bring to the court a diverse perspective, the presence of which is vital to ensuring balance and fairness in a richly diverse region.”
However, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, expressed his concerns about her affiliation with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
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“At her hearing, she repeatedly refused to condemn the SPLC labeling mainstream groups that it disagrees with as ‘hate groups,’” Grassley said in a May 2022 statement. “She claimed that she had nothing to do with the SPLC’s defamatory ‘hate groups’ label. But she told the committee that she was responsible for overseeing special litigation, including against hate groups.”
Biden nominated Rachel Bloomekatz to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, that includes Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Some Republicans have raised concerns because she previously worked for gun control lobby group Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped found.
Biden nominated Dale Ho to be a judge for the U.S. Southern District of New York. Ho is a former lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He was more recently a lawyer for the ACLU, where he argued the case against the Census asking for citizenship questions. When Black and Hispanic voting reached record numbers in the 2018 election, Ho testified to Congress, “Today, racial discrimination in voting remains a persistent and widespread problem.”
Biden nominated Nusrat Jahan Choudhury to be a judge for the U.S. Eastern District of New York. Choudhury previously said the criminal justice system is “premised on structural inequality,” during her 2018 remarks at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
“A lot of the racial animus that undergirded apartheid in America was shifted into the criminal justice system,” she said. “So, the criminal justice system started doing the work of apartheid, which was criminalizing low-income Black and Latino people and keeping them down.”
She went on to say, “I see my work as hoping to transform the system.”
Grassley also expressed concern about Choudhury’s nomination.
“Ms. Choudhury has made numerous statements critical of law enforcement. At her hearing, she told Senator Kennedy that she’d said that police killing unarmed black men ‘happens every day’ in America,” Grassley said. “When police groups strongly opposed her, she had a confirmation conversion. After her hearing, she claimed she never made the statement. But she never explained why she thought it sounded like something she’d say.”