Biden Nominees Raise Red Flags About Their Record on Religious Liberty

September 24, 2021
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by Jorge Gomez • 6 min read

The U.S. Senate recently confirmed several judicial nominees to America’s federal courts, bringing the total number of confirmations under the Biden administration to thirteen (13).

It may appear small, but that number of judicial appointees at this point in Biden’s presidency ranks him above his predecessors dating back to Ronald Reagan.

The focus, however, is on President Biden’s first-confirmed judge to the Tenth Circuit: Judge Veronica S. Rossman, who will enter her lifetime judgeship on this appeals court at the age of forty-nine (49). She will fill one of two open seats on the Tenth Circuit, which means that President Biden still has a second vacancy to fill.

If President Biden can fill that second empty slot, he’d be solidifying the liberal-appointed majority on this circuit, possibly for a generation should the next nominee be in the same age range as Judge Rossman. Currently, the Tenth Circuit is comprised of six (6) liberal-appointed and five (5) conservative-appointed judges. A second confirmation would bring the balance to a 7-5 liberal majority.

However, this isn’t the only appellate court where Biden nominees could cause a shift.

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The Tenth Circuit mentioned above was already comprised of a majority of liberal-appointed judges. But the Second Circuit presents a different scenario, as it’s currently comprised of six (6) conservative-appointed to five (5) liberal-appointed judges.

(Recall one important fact: The Second Circuit was flipped to a 7–6 majority of conservative-appointed judges under the Trump administration).

However, President Biden already nominated candidates for two (2) vacancies on the Second Circuit. And if the president succeeds at filling those slots, he’d flip the Second Circuit to a 7-6 liberal majority—a shift that could be alarming for several reasons.

Biden’s Liberal Judges: Concerning for Religious Freedom?

A liberal majority on the Second Circuit could have major ramifications for Americans’ liberties when the court issues rulings.

It’s true that the party affiliation of a judge’s appointing president is not a perfect measure of how they’ll rule on cases. Nonetheless, it does offer a significant indication of where they stand on certain constitutional rights—especially religious freedom.

What’s more, when it comes down to hearing and deciding cases, the balance of liberal to conservative judges makes a big difference. Circuit courts typically hear cases in three-judge panels. So, if there is a majority of conservative-appointed judges on a given court, there is a greater probability of drawing a panel with at least one or two pro-religious freedom judges on it.

But one of Biden’s nominees to the Second Circuit—Beth Robinson—doesn’t inspire much confidence on religious liberty. As an attorney, she represented a woman who during the 1990s sued a printer under a state anti-discrimination law for refusing to print membership cards she made for a group called Vermont Catholics for Free Choice, which opposed the church’s stance on abortion. The owners of the print business, a Catholic couple, followed Church teaching and therefore declined to process the order.

Robinson’s brief defending her client at the time referred to the Catholic couple’s views as “invidious” and “pernicious.”

Sound familiar? That case shares similar facts to cases such as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado and First Liberty’s own case, SweetCakes by Melissa, both involving government agencies showing open hostility against religious Americans for declining to convey messages that violated their beliefs.

With close to thirty Biden nominees going through the confirmation process, First Liberty will continue evaluating and uncovering those who have a radical or unacceptable record on religious freedom. And we’ll provide the facts and information to those in the U.S. Senate who vote on whether they’ll become judges on the federal bench for life.

Adding Fuel to the Court-Packing Fire

Flipping the Second Circuit could give the Biden administration a notch in its belt, especially as it continues propagating its agenda of judicial “reform” and “restoring balance” to the courts.

For President Biden—who faces intense pressure from the radical wing of his party who wants court-packing done ASAP—flipping one of the thirteen appellate courts would give him a point of reference to, at the very least, make a claim that he’s getting something done in the lower courts.

But this may not be enough to quell those scheming for a Supreme Court Coup. Flipping the Second Circuit could instead be used to add fuel to the court-packing fire.

It wouldn’t be surprising to hear the Left argue: If Biden succeeded at flipping one circuit court to a liberal majority, now it’s time for him to do the same at the next level, at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Left has constantly shown they’ll twist any opportunity to reignite their scheme to stack the courts with liberal judges. And with Biden’s alleged “bipartisan” judicial commission set to submit its report on possible court “reforms” very soon, this is the time when Americans must step up and reject this blatant Supreme Court Coup.

More than 400,000 Americans have already made their voice heard by joining First Liberty’s national coalition of patriots who are saying “no” to court packing. Will you join us in this critical effort to reach 1 million signatures and help save the priceless heritage of the Supreme Court?

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