Statement On Cory Wilson, Nominee To The Fifth Circuit

. . . . Judiciary Committee Executive Business Meeting

This morning we are scheduled to report the nomination of Cory Wilson to the Senate floor. Judge Wilson is nominated to fill the very last vacant circuit court seat in the federal judiciary. Some on this committee may consider this rapid, slap-dash rush to pack our circuit courts with President Trump’s nominees a great accomplishment. But at what cost, I ask? What have we sacrificed in the process? Too much, I believe.

First, the Senate has now shaped our courts—especially our appellate courts—to resemble an extreme, partisan arm of the Republican Party.  Too many of President Trump’s nominees were clearly chosen because of—not in spite of—their openly partisan views and track records.

Judge Wilson is no different. He has called the Affordable Care Act—which provides a critical lifeline to millions of Americans during this pandemic—“perverse” and “illegitimate.” He has attacked President Obama in ugly, personal terms, berating him as a “fit throwing teenager” and “shrill, dishonest, and intellectually bankrupt.” And with his long record undermining minority voting rights and dismissing the real scourge of voter suppression as “phony,” Judge Wilson is hardly the nominee we should be promoting at a moment of reckoning on racial injustices. 

For generations Americans have valued our judiciary for its independence. A place where all Americans – of any political party, background, race, or sexual orientation – believed they could go to get fair and impartial justice. I wouldn’t blame Americans if they had trouble believing these things given who we have put on the bench under President Trump.

In rubberstamping so many partisan nominees, this Committee has also greatly diminished our own standing.  And the Senate has diminished itself as a co-equal branch of government. Our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to a President’s nominees used to mean something. But under this President, that constitutional duty has meant little more than serving as a mindless conveyer belt to rubberstamp nominees – however unqualified and however extreme.   

I am afraid of what a partisan judiciary and a poisoned nominations process means for the future. For the sake of preserving what is left of our democracy’s most cherished institutions, I will vote ‘No’ on Cory Wilson’s nomination to the Fifth Circuit.

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