Here are the most extreme far-right judges pushed through by the Trump administration
President Donald Trump has not only appointed two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court — Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 — he has also appointed a long list of federal appeals court and district court judges. And Jennifer Bendery, in an in-depth report for HuffPost, outlines who some of the worst ones are.
In addition to his U.S. Supreme Court appointments, Bendery notes, Trump has nominated “a record-breaking 43 appeals court judges and 99 district court judges” — and he clearly has a preference for those on the far right.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, explained to HuffPost why these nominations are so consequential: “It is important for the public to appreciate that appeals court appointees serve on courts that are the courts of last resort for 99.9% of cases in their regions of the U.S. on issues like capital punishment, abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, etc. The key is: they resolve 50,000 cases per year, and the Supreme Court resolves 100.”
In her article, Bendery cites some Trump-appointed judges who “have records of being anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion” or “anti-voting rights.” One of them is Judge Leonard Steven Grasz, who thanks to Trump, now sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and has a “record of opposing LGBTQ and abortion rights.” Other Trump-appointed extremists Bendery discusses in her piece include, among many others, Judge Jonathan Kobes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, Judge Neomi Rao on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Judge Eric Murphy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, and Judge John Bush on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
Bush, Bendery notes, has compared abortion to slavery, while Rao has criticized “special treatment for minority students.” Barrett, who was mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee in 2018 before Trump decided to nominate Kavanaugh, has been with an extreme Christianist group called People of Praise and described the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit as an “attack on religious liberty.”
Another extremist Bendery discusses is Judge Kyle Duncan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Duncan, she observes, has been a vigorous defender of voter suppression. And Judge Kenneth Lee, a Trump nominee who now sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, has described multiculturalism as a “malodorous sickness” and asserted that gays are more promiscuous than heterosexuals.
Bendery’s article not only makes a strong case for voting Trump out of office in 2020 but also, for Democrats retaking the U.S. Senate: she stresses that Senate Republicans voted in lockstep to confirm the extremist judges Trump nominated.