Radical Nominees One Step Closer to Becoming Federal Judges

February 10, 2023
Insider | Nominees Confirmed

by Jorge Gomez • 6 min read

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced 24 of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees who had failed to win the committee’s approval in the prior Congress. These nominees will be referred to the full floor for consideration and be teed up for a final confirmation vote.

Some of these nominees’ records reveal that they hold positions far outside the mainstream. While in private practice, some of them worked for—or were endorsed by—some of the most radical groups in the country, which suggests they could be hostile to religious liberty and unconstitutionally advance a liberal policy agenda from the federal bench.

First Liberty has previously warned about several appellate court picks whose records raise serious concern. Among those who advanced this week were:

  • Julie Rikelman, nominee to the 1st Circuit. She is an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, a liberal organization that represented the Mississippi abortion clinic in Dobbs v. Jackson, the Supreme Court case that returned the power to regulate abortion to the states.
  • Nancy Abudu, nominee to the 11th Circuit. She previously worked as senior staff counsel with the ACLU. More recently, Abudu’s legal experience comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an infamous organization known for labeling political opponents as “hate groups” or “extremists.” A coalition of more than 50 individuals and organizations—including multiple religious groups—sent a letter to Senate leaders expressing their opposition and concern about her record.
  • Rita Lin, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. During a hearing last year, Lin admitted she had called Christians “bigots.” Lin once wrote in a 1998 article about a religious organization: “The problem with the Christian Coalition is…that they are bigots.” She also referred to Christians as “Bible thumpers.” These comments raise serious questions about whether religious groups will be treated fairly if Lin were to take the bench.

Abudu has drawn considerable opposition. All members of the minority party in the Senate Judiciary Committee voted “no” on her nomination. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas expressed his opposition to Abudu and to many of the judicial picks who could soon be sitting on the federal bench for life. Watch the videos below:

Mary Beth Waddell, who is the Director of Federal Affairs for Family and Religious Liberty for our friends at Family Research Council, expressed grave reservations about the prospect of Abudu becoming a federal judge. She told The Washington Stand:

“Nancy Abudu is completely unqualified to serve in any judicial position, much less one on the second-highest court in the nation. She has chosen to work for an organization known for sexism and racism. They are known to target their political opponents by maliciously labeling them as ‘hate groups.’ They have had to pay millions of dollars to individuals they have attacked and mislabeled as ‘extremists’ simply because they have different political opinions and ideas. Even more shocking is that the SPLC has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court because of this false labeling.”

In addition to those who advanced in this wave, other Biden nominees have inspired little confidence that they would protect religious liberty. Our legal experts recently warned Americans about. Bradley Garcia, nominee to the influential D.C. Circuit, considered the “second highest” court in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court. During a hearing, Garcia admitted that he chose to take cases and argued against religious freedom. In the Supreme Court case Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru, he challenged the First Amendment rights of religious schools to freely make employment decisions. The Senate Judiciary Committee recently advanced his nomination to the full floor.­

Religious Americans confront increasing attacks on their rights. Now, more than ever, our federal courts need judges who are committed the Constitution and the rule of law—who will rule according to principle and not politics. As the Senate ramps up confirmations and hearings in the next several weeks, First Liberty will continue to provide you with the facts if any of President Biden’s nominees have a radical or unacceptable record.

Related News: U.S. Senate confirms 1st Biden judicial nominee of 2023

Reuters reports: The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed DeAndrea Benjamin, a South Carolina state court judge, to a seat on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in its first vote of 2023 on one of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.

Benjamin was confirmed by the Senate on a 53-44 vote, with her state’s two Republican senators throwing their support behind her. The vote hands Biden his 98th confirmed judicial nominee and his second appointee on the 4th Circuit, which hears appeals from Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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