Lambda Legal Condemns Senate Republicans Push for Anti-Health Care Nominee Walker to DC Circuit in Middle of a Pandemic

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May 5, 2020
Photo by: Screenshot courtesy of Alliance for Justice

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham has scheduled a hearing tomorrow on the nomination of Justin Walker to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Today, Lambda Legal sent a letter to Committee leadership opposing his confirmation.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to reconvene the Senate for the purpose of continuing to pack the federal judiciary with extremists and ideologues is reckless and indefensible. Likewise, there is no reason why the Senate Judiciary Committee should ignore sound medical advice in the middle of a global pandemic to convene an in-person hearing to consider the nomination of McConnell’s 37-year-old protégé Justin Walker, for the D.C. Circuit. The seat in question will not even be open until this fall, which makes it even more inexcusable for Senate leadership to put lives at risk.

Furthermore, Senate Republicans are engaging in this high-risk behavior not to advance major health or economic initiatives, but rather in the hope of confirming to the D.C. Circuit someone who was found ‘Not Qualified’ by the American Bar Association when he was confirmed a mere six months ago for a district court position. Since that time, Judge Walker has continued to act more like a partisan operative than a fair and impartial arbiter of justice.

We call upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject this nomination, but more urgently, at this moment, the Committee should, at a minimum, postpone tomorrow’s hearing, and focus instead on the urgent health and economic crisis facing this country.    

Judge Walker is just the latest in a long line of judicial nominees championed by right wing organizations like the Federalist Society for their zealous opposition to the Affordable Care Act, as well as other extremist views, jeopardizing the lives of LGBT people and others who need access to fair and impartial courts.

We are in a national crisis, and there is important work to be done. The Senate should focus its energies on securing the personal safety and economic security of everyone affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and not on furthering its assault on the credibility of the federal judiciary. Leader McConnell has made no bones about his willingness to ignore the pandemic in service of his plan to pack the courts, but others in the Senate — and particularly those on the Senate Judiciary Committee — should push back against this cynical ploy and start focusing on the people’s business.