While we are all transfixed by the Impeachment process, and by Republicans’ bizarre antics during the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committee proceedings, their Senate counterparts have been busy defiling the federal bench and giving a middle finger to the rule of law by confirming judicial nominees who are demonstrably unfit.
Ed Brayton recently reported on the confirmation of one such specimen: a creationist named Lawrence Van Dyke. Van Dyke is yet another Trump nominee rated “unfit” by the American Bar Association–ratings to which the Administration has responded by discontinuing the practice of asking the ABA for its evaluation of potential nominees.
When you don’t get the answers you want, just stop asking the questions…
In addition to being considered unfit by his legal peers, however, Van Dyke is apparently a real piece of work:
After conducting 60 interviews, the ABA found that VanDyke has a reputation as “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.” Video of VanDyke lecturing, scolding, and interrupting judges during oral argument while serving as Nevada solicitor general lends credence to that assessment…
VanDyke has a long record as an anti-LGBTQ activist. He wrote in 2004 that marriage equality “will hurt families, and consequentially children and society.” As the solicitor general of Montana, he advocated for the state to join two briefs alleging that legal recognition of same-sex relationships would harm children. The first claimed that prohibiting same-sex marriage promoted “optimal childrearing” because same-sex couples “cannot provide” the optimal “family structure.” And the second asserted that states “may rationally conclude” that “it is better” for parents to have a “biological” connection to their children…
How would you like to be an LGBTQ litigant whose claim was being adjudicated by this gem? As Brayton writes,
Only Trump would have even considered appointing this ignorant dolt to the federal bench. And since the Senate Republicans would confirm a ham sandwich if Trump nominated one, we’re now stuck with this mushhead for a lifetime.
A regular reader of this blog recently sent me an email asking whether Bill Barr could be impeached. As I told her, he could be–and he should be. But so long as Mitch McConnell is in charge of the Senate, he won’t be.
The New York Bar Association recently issued a statement to the effect that, if Barr refuses to recuse himself from the Ukraine investigation, he should resign or, failing that, “be subject to sanctions, including possible removal, by Congress.” It is certainly foreseeable that other bar associations, responding to inappropriate behavior by one of Trump’s questionable judicial appointments, might also call on Congress to issue sanctions– although doing so would raise a very real possibility of judicial retaliation against lawyers with suits pending in that courtroom.
More to the point, calling out judicial misbehavior is useless if the Senate remains in the hands of the same no-integrity Republicans who confirmed these specimens in the first place.
As important as it is to defeat Donald Trump in November, it is every bit as important–actually, it is even more important–to remove Mitch McConnell (aka the most evil man in America) and the Republican majority that has enabled him.