Senate To Confirm Four Circuit Court Nominees This Week
‘Our effort to confirm qualified judicial nominees this year would not be possible without the tireless work and effective leadership of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. To build on excellent work of his committee, I filed cloture last week on four well-qualified circuit court nominees. These nominees understand their as a judge is to put aside their personal preferences and instead decide cases based on what the law says. We’ll confirm all of them this week.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the four well-qualified circuit court nominations on the Senate floor this week:
“For the past eight years, we had a president who selected nominees for our nation’s judiciary based upon what became known as the ‘empathy standard’ — an ideological litmus test designed to find judicial nominees who would favor certain groups or individuals over others. That’s a great standard if you’re the party in a case whom the judge has empathy for. It’s not so great if you’re the other person. Not only does this standard deny every litigant a fair shake, it also disregards our nation’s bedrock legal tradition of dispensing equal justice under the law.
“President Trump, on the other hand, is selecting nominees who will help ensure that the judiciary is true to its role in our democracy. Later today, the Senate will vote to confirm one of those nominees: Trevor McFadden as a district court judge for the District of Columbia. His nomination was approved by the Judiciary Committee without a single vote in opposition. Democrats needlessly delayed his vote here on the floor anyway. We’ve seen many delay tactics from them this year already. We’ve pushed through every time. We’re going to push through again today. We’re going to confirm the impressive judicial nominee before us. We’re going to confirm more judicial nominees in the coming days too.
“Our effort to confirm qualified judicial nominees this year would not be possible without the tireless work and effective leadership of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. To build on the excellent work of his committee, I filed cloture last week on four well-qualified circuit court nominees. These nominees understand their role as a judge is to put aside their personal preferences and instead decide cases based on what the law says. We’ll confirm all of them this week, no matter how long that takes.
“The first of these four circuit court nominees we’ll confirm this week is Professor Amy Barrett, who was nominated by President Trump to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. A mother of seven, Professor Barrett began her legal career by clerking for Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Antonin Scalia. These prestigious clerkships gave her the opportunity to work closely with two giants of the legal field. Today, she is a respected professor at the University of Notre Dame, where — by the way — she was honored as ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’…twice. Professor Barrett would bring a wealth of knowledge to the bench.
“Now, Professor Barrett happens to be Catholic. Her faith is important to her. She has spoken freely about it and its impact on her life. But she also understands the role of a judge, which is not to let personal beliefs dictate how cases are decided. Unbelievably, some on the political Left, including some of our Democratic colleagues, are criticizing her because as a law student she co-wrote a law review article that argued just that.
“Her co-author of that article, John Garvey, is now the President of Catholic University. He recently wrote the following:
“‘Amy Barrett, a law professor at Notre Dame, was grilled on Wednesday by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee about an article she and I wrote together in 1998 when I was a law professor and she was my student. In that article we argued that the death penalty was immoral, as the Catholic Church teaches (in common with Quakers, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and the 38 member communions in the National Council of Churches). We went on to say that a Catholic judge who held that view might, in rare cases, have to recuse herself under…[the] federal statute that asks a federal judge to step aside when she has conscientious scruples that prevent her from deciding a case in conformity with the facts and the law.’
“President Garvey went on to write:
“‘Perhaps the Alliance for Justice, which has mounted a campaign to discredit Professor Barrett, didn't get that far in reading the article. Its website says this: “Stunningly, Barrett has asserted that judges should not follow the law or the Constitution when it conflicts with their personal religious beliefs. In fact, [this group claimed], Barrett has said that judges should be free to put their personal views ahead of their judicial oath to faithfully follow the law.”’
“President Garvey noted, however, ‘Barrett (and I) said no such thing. We said precisely the opposite.’ This opposition to Professor Barrett is so upside down, it has left people like President Garvey wondering whether there is something else going on here:
“‘The case against Prof. Barrett is so flimsy,’ Garvey concluded, ‘that you have to wonder whether there isn't some other, unspoken, cause for their objection.’
“The President of Notre Dame also weighed in about these criticisms of Professor Barrett. Here’s some of what he said in his letter to the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee:
“‘Your concern, as you expressed it,’ he wrote, ‘is that ‘dogma lives loudly in [Professor Barrett], and that is a concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.’
“‘I am one in whose heart ’dogma lives loudly,’’ he continued, ‘as it has for centuries in the lives of many Americans, some of whom have given their lives in service to this nation…It is chilling to hear from a United States Senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge. I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom ‘dogma lives loudly’—which is a condition we call faith. For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.’
“‘Professor Barrett,’ he wrote, ‘has made it clear that she would ‘follow unflinchingly’ all legal precedent and, in rare cases in which her conscience would not allow her to do so, she would recuse herself. I can assure you that she is a person of integrity who acts in accord with the principles she articulates.’
“Let me remind colleagues that Article 6 of the Constitution provides that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.’ According to the Founders, this was done to ensure that ‘The people may employ any wise or good citizen in the execution of the various duties of the government.’ Professor Barrett of Notre Dame is just such a wise and good person, and when the Senate confirms her to the Seventh Circuit, our judiciary and our nation will be better off. I strongly support her nomination and urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Related Issues: Judicial Nominations