Senate Confirms Mitch McConnell's 38-Year-Old Protege To Powerful Court Seat
WASHINGTON - The Senate voted on Thursday to confirm Justin Walker, 38-year-old protégé of majority leader Mitch McConnell, for life in the country's second most powerful court.
All Republicans present, except one, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, voted to take Walker to the District of Columbia U.S. Court of Appeals. Every democrat present voted in the negative. The final balance sheet was 51 to 42.
It was not particularly urgent to occupy the court seat; It is only free in September. But Walker's nomination sailed through the Senate at "warp speed," as an expert put it, because McConnell personally wanted him to be confirmed.
McConnell has known Walker since high school. He knows Walker's grandfather and recommended him to the White House last year for a seat in a U.S. district court in Kentucky. At the time, he called him “undoubtedly the most outstanding nomination I have ever recommended to presidents to serve in the Kentucky bank. "
It turns out that Mitch McConnell, Brett Kavanaugh and the Federalist Society want you to be confirmed as a powerful court of law. It happens very quickly! (Photo: Caroline Brehman via Getty Images)
It was a day after the American Bar Association rated Walker as “unqualified” for the job due to its lack of experience. His résumé at the time listed positions as an associate law professor and former legal trainee with the then U.S. government. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the District of Columbia Circuit.
But the Republicans still confirmed it in October. Walker is promoted less than a year later, and the ABA claims to be qualified this time.
More than 200 national civil rights groups vigorously rejected Walker's nomination for criticizing the Affordable Care Act. Walker described the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Health Act as "unacceptable" and "catastrophic" and praised Kavanaugh for writing the "roadmap" for the lifting.
The groups also expressed concerns about what they considered Walker's extreme ideology. When Walker was officially sworn in to his district court seat in March, he criticized the American Bar Association as saying, "Although we celebrate today, we cannot take it for granted tomorrow, otherwise we will lose our courts and our country to critics who give us describe as scary that describe us as unfortunate. "He continued," In Brett Kavanaugh's America, we will not surrender while you are at war with our work, cause, hope, or dream. "
Collins said these comments were the reason she opposed him.
"While Judge Walker is entitled to represent all of the personal views he chooses, his ideological comments on the day he was officially appointed as a federal judge - about winning and losing the courts and war against those who disagree as his own - preventing me from supporting his elevation to the second highest court in the country, ”she said in a statement.
In the meantime, McConnell raved about Walker's references, saying that during his confirmation hearing, "he had an impressive understanding of precedents".
"If the Senate confirms Judge Walker for this position, we will not only be promoting a highly admired legal expert and proven judge into a role for which he is obviously qualified," said McConnell in the Senate. "We will also contribute to an old tradition of finding men and women from across the country to ensure that this hugely consistent bank here in the capital of our country is refreshed with talent from across America."
Rand Paul (R), Senator from Kentucky, praised Walker for his recent decision denying the Democratic Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky the opportunity to ban services on Easter Sunday to slow the spread of the corona virus.
"Judge Walker has already shown how seriously he takes his oath to the Constitution," said Paul. "I was proud to support his nomination during this process."
Like so many court decisions by President Donald Trump, Walker is a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization. The group has effectively served as a pipeline for dozens of candidates to the President's Court of Appeals. They all have something in common: they have records of being hostile to women's reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and voting rights.
Kavanaugh is also a member of the Federalist Society. It certainly helped Walker's rapid rise that he publicly struck for his former boss during Kavanaugh's 2018 Supreme Court affirmative hearings. Walker went out of his way to defend Kavanaugh against Christine Blasey Ford's credible allegations that he had sexually assaulted her in high school. Walker conducted over 70 media interviews challenging Ford.
"You might think the attacker was Brett Kavanaugh," Walker said in an interview with Fox News in September 2018. "I think she's wrong."
Walker's confirmation means that Trump has now appointed 52 appeals judges - more than any other president at that point in his first term. This also means that more than a quarter of the judges of the country's Court of Appeals were appointed by Trump.
Senate Democrats call on Lindsey Graham to focus the hearings on COVID-19, not more judges
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