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Former Federal Judge: Trump Is Packing the Courts with Unqualified Conservative Extremists


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC


With the acknowledgment of a 12th circuit probity judge progressing this month, Trump set a record for the many appellate judges reliable in a president’s first year in office. Early in his first year, Trump allocated regressive Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. But authorised experts contend Trump’s appointments to the reduce courts will have the many impact on American life given they confirm scarcely all cases, trimming from voting rights and contraception to happy rights and immigration. Meanwhile, Trump’s hopeful to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court in Washington withdrew from consideration, after widely circulated video showed he was incompetent to answer simple questions about the law and had never tried a case in court. We get response from Judge Shira Scheindlin, former United States district judge for the Southern District of New York, where she served for 22 years.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

1

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We start today’s show looking at how President Trump is moulding the sovereign law with the acknowledgment of a 12th circuit probity judge progressing this month. Trump set a record for the many appellate judges reliable in a president’s first year in office. President Trump began his term having to fill 150 vacancies in the sovereign courts, or about 10 percent of the sovereign judiciary, mostly due to a reserve caused by Republican deterrent of confirmations during the Obama administration. Early in his first year in office, Trump allocated regressive Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. But authorised experts contend Trump’s appointments to the reduce courts will have the many impact on American life given those courts confirm scarcely all cases, trimming from voting rights and contraception to happy rights and immigration.

Many of Trump’s appointees have drawn scrutiny, including Leonard Grasz, who was the Senate—who the Senate reliable progressing this month to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals despite a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association. Grasz is one of at slightest 4 Trump nominees the ABA deemed “not qualified.” Meanwhile, Trump’s hopeful to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court in Washington withdrew from consideration, after widely circulated video showed he was incompetent to answer simple questions about the law and had never tried a case in court. This is Louisiana Republican John Kennedy doubt Matthew Petersen at a Senate Judiciary Committee acknowledgment conference progressing this month.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Have you ever tried a jury trial?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: I have not.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Civil?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: No.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Criminal?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: No.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Bench?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: No.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: State or sovereign court?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: I have not.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY: Have you ever taken a deposition?

MATTHEW PETERSEN: I was endangered in holding depositions.

AMY GOODMAN: Matthew Petersen’s withdrawal came after the Judiciary Committee deserted two of President Trump’s other nominees this month: Texas counsel Jeff Mateer, who has called transgender children justification of “Satan’s plan,” and blogger Brett Talley, who was rated “unanimously unqualified” for a legal post by the American Bar Association.

Well, for more, we’re assimilated by Judge Shira Scheindlin. She served 22 years as United States district judge for the Southern District of New York. She was allocated by Bill Clinton and left the dais in Apr of last year. She’s a member of the executive cabinet of the house of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Her recent piece published in The Guardian is headlined “Trump’s new group of judges will radically change American society,” and also has a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times.

Judge Scheindlin, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Thanks so much for joining us.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what is happening now with the sovereign judiciary.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: A lot is happening right now—and, as you already said, at record speed. You mentioned that 12 circuit judges have been confirmed. The prior high was three, and that was President Obama, got 3 circuit judges reliable in his first year. So, we are seeing a quick bid to container the courts with what can only be termed very regressive judges and justices.

We have one Supreme Court justice, and everybody pays a lot of courtesy to that, but the reality is that the reduce courts is where the movement is. So, on the 13 circuit courts, they write 60,000 opinions. The Supreme Court writes 62. So, you can see that the final word in many cases is at the appellate level. The hearing courts write several hundred thousand opinions per year. There are a sum of about 179 circuit judges via the country, 677 district probity judges. And as you know, a Supreme Court cavity is a very singular event.

So, if those reduce courts spin filled with very regressive judges, all of whom who have life tenure, all of whom will offer 30 to 40 years, then the impact of these appointments will last for decades. And the judges he’s picked are not going to be accessible to termination rights, happy rights, certain action, voting rights—so many issues that impact so many people on a daily basis. They’re anti-regulation. There’s just so many theme matters that will change when these folks spin the infancy on the several appellate and district courts.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, you’ve combined that Trump has not only rushed all these appointments, but he’s also ceded the preference of the judges to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: That seems true. Those are the go-to sources that he uses to find qualified—in his view, qualified—candidates for the sovereign courts. So when he wants to find people who consider as he thinks or who will spin judges in the mold that he would like to see, he goes to those sources to find the candidates—and, obviously, doesn’t oldster them too well. As you already forked out, a couple of them have no business on any hearing probity or any appellate court, given they have no legal knowledge whatsoever, no courtroom experience.

AMY GOODMAN: In today’s New York Times, Reverend Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, wrote about Trump’s assignment of Thomas Alvin Farr, a protégé of Senator Jesse Helms, to offer on the U.S. district probity for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Barber writes about Farr’s connectors to white supremacist causes and writes, quote, “Mr. Farr’s former law partner, Thomas Ellis, was Mr. Helms’s top emissary for decades. He also served as a executive of the Nazi-inspired, pro-eugenics Pioneer Fund and used appropriation from that classification to create and stake a network of interlocking organizations to support Mr. Helms and other domestic possibilities who espoused the idea of a higher white race and against polite rights.”

Barber went on to write, quote, “African-Americans seeking to have their rights stable under sovereign law have much to fear if Mr. Farr takes the bench. This is quite the case in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which covers an area where about half of the state’s African-American residents live and is mostly referred to as its Black Belt.”

Now, those are the disproportion of William Barber, the obvious polite rights activist. Judge Scheindlin, can you speak about Mr. Farr and the stress of his—Trump’s choice?

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: Well, we can a little bit. we wrote about Mr. Farr also in my New York Times op-ed, but in a much-reduced fashion, given we wrote about 4 nominees rather than one. And we forked out many of the same things. But one fact that we also forked out is that President Bush had nominated Mr. Farr in 2006, but he didn’t go through. we mean, then, even then, that Congress said, “No way. This person should not be on the sovereign bench.” Now he comes back, redux—what is it?—12 years later, and unexpected he’s going to be acceptable.

Now, what has changed? What has changed is we don’t have the filibuster rule. This is very critical to explain. It used to take 60 votes, but now it takes only a unclothed majority. Now, that changed under the Democrats in 2013, but they had to do it. They had to use that nuclear option, given their picks were being blocked in the Senate. And while they knew they did that at their own peril, that it would come back to haunt them, there are many who believe, even if they hadn’t finished it, it would be finished now. The Republicans would do the same thing. So, 6 of the Trump judges have already been reliable with distant reduction than 60 votes. They would never have been reliable before. And that’s going to occur with Farr, if he’s confirmed.

Now, the other thing we would contend about Farr is that it’s a district probity nominee. That’s the lowest court. That’s the hearing court. Thankfully, right now, he’s not being nominated for an appellate court. But it wouldn’t warn me, if he is confirmed, in the next two, 3 years, they’ll put him up for the circuit court. we have no doubt about that. This is a person who does not go on the sovereign bench. His views are unsuitable to the immeasurable infancy of Americans. That’s the problem with the Trump picks. They’re simply not mainstream people. They are extremists. And this man is an nonconformist who doesn’t go on the sovereign bench, does not know integrity and justice. And he’ll spin the time back. He was a good believer of North Carolina’s voter termination law, which the circuit topsy-turvy and pronounced it targeted, with almost surgical precision, against black voters. So this is a dangerous person to put on the bench.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, one of the things that you’ve lifted is that, in the past, even yet there’s always been narrow-minded voting in the Senate on these judges, there was always a simple bargain that a person had to be qualified. And now we’re seeing a record series of people who are deemed utter by the American Bar Association. Your clarity of that?

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: Well, there are two things to say. While presidents always collect people who would simulate their own values, there was a lot of consensus. There was a lot of bipartisan support. Most district probity nominees were authorized in the nineties. That is, 90 votes, 95, 93, 90-something. The immeasurable infancy were authorized bipartisan, for the district courts, in particular. I’m certain my own opinion was in the nineties when we was authorized by Congress. So, we didn’t see votes of 51. We didn’t even see votes of 60. People were approved, given there was consensus. And the home state senators had a role. And they’re trying to remove that. So things have changed remarkably now. There’s no bipartisanship. It’s particularly partisan-line voting on a series of these people.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, for people who are not judges or lawyers, can you explain the disproportion between the district court, the appeals court, what it means to be a sovereign judge like yourself, a state judge, and what are the cases any one hears?

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: That’s a lot of questions at once, and I’ll try to straighten that out. So the sovereign courts hear both polite and rapist cases, but that engage sovereign laws or the Constitution. The state courts do internal things, like internal crime, domestic relationships, wills, genuine estate, housing, landlord-tenant court—very opposite kinds of issues.

So let’s spin back to the sovereign courts. First of all, the sovereign courts are lifetime appointments. They are not elected. They’re allocated by any president. And people do tend to stay 30 years, on average. They hear terrorism cases on the rapist side. They hear domestic crime cases. They hear narcotics cases, drug cases, but so do the state courts, so that can be a little bit of both. But they have a broader concentration on the rapist side. On the polite side, of course, they hear polite rights cases that arise under the Constitution. And as you know, I’ve rubbed some of those myself over the years. So, it’s a very opposite court.

Now, you also asked me to explain the hearing courts and the appellate courts. So, the hearing courts, which is what we call the lowest court, the district court, it doesn’t meant we’re lowly, it just means we’re first. So, the district courts try the cases. The case is filed there. The case is tried there. And the district probity really sets the stage. we consider it’s the best pursuit of all, given you—

AMY GOODMAN: And that’s where you served.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: That’s where we served, for 22 years. And you get to write the first opinion. You really figure the case. Then the circuit probity reviews what you did, but they can only understanding with the record you created. So they lay on top of you, and they examination what you do. And as we pronounced before, they write maybe 60,000 decisions, and the reduce courts write maybe 355,000.

OK, then, from there, you get to the Supreme Court, but only intensely rarely, given they normal between 65 and 80 cases a year now. Imagine the contingency of ever being listened in the Supreme Court. So, really, the courts of appeals are the last stop. Now, there are 13 of them. And when President Obama took office, 10 of those 13 had a infancy of Republican-appointed judges. But when he left, only 4 were infancy Republican-appointed. In other words, he shifted the change of the circuit courts. What we’re going to see now is a change back. So this quick bid to get circuit judges confirmed, that’s what President Trump has done, some-more than any—12 have been reliable for the circuit courts—is to change that change as quick as possible.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break. When we come back, we’re going to also ask about some of your cases—

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: Good.

AMY GOODMAN: —like the very obvious stop-and-frisk case in New York, and also the other judges that you are—or the nominees, that you are endangered about.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN: Good.

AMY GOODMAN: Judge Shira Scheindlin is former U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York, where she served 22 years. This is Democracy Now!We’ll be back with her. Then we’ll be speaking with the first Latino City Council orator of New York City, who is finale her term—we’ll try to also find out where she’s headed—Melissa Mark-Viverito. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: That’s “Tight” by The Coup. The group’s longtime DJ, hip-hop colonize Pam The Funkstress, died last Friday at the age of 51.



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