Wednesday – 10/30: It’s Halloween tomorrow in the Senate! – Horrifying judicial candidates that will haunt us for a lifetime. VOTE THURSDAY!

Corrupt Judiciary on the Bench, artist – Thomas Nast, Harper’s Weekly, Jan. 27, 1872 

Action : Call your senators and tell them to vote “NO” on these four nominees!

Minimal script for Democratic Senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to vote “NO” on the following judicial nominees.

  • Sarah Pitlyk: Not only has she been judged unqualified by the American Bar Association, but this religious ideologue has already proven that she can’t be an impartial judge.
  • Steven Menashi: His nomination is a threat to the civil rights of women, POC, students, the LGBTQ community, immigrants as well as to the environment.
  • Halil S. Ozerden: – we do not need another corporatist judge, who ignores the rights of consumers and workers, and who sides with police abuse.
  • Lawrence VanDyke: The ABA states he “is arrogant, lazy, and an ideologue.”
  • Federalist Society: Also, please stop voting for any judicial nominations who are members of the Federalist Society, an extremist far-right group. Their members, who are just 4% of the legal community but more than 80% of Trumps’ nominees, do not reflect those views of most Americans.

Minimal script for GOP senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to vote “NO” to Sarah Pitlyk, Steven Menashi, Lawrence VanDyke and Halil S. Ozerden.  That your party destroyed the “blue slip” system, and no longer seems to care if candidates are qualified or even marginally impartial, will result in rulings that will harm your own constituents. Your support for these candidates implicates you in a corrupt system that will need to be cleaned out at the ballot box.  Do the right thing.

Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: 

Who are these judge-wanna-be-forevers?

Sarah Pitlyk:“NOT QUALIFIED” forced-birther radical for U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. –VOTE THURSDAY!


Planned Parenthood alert:  The bipartisan American Bar Association has unanimously rated Sarah Pitlyk, another extremist Federalist Society member, “not qualified” for this important position, due to her lack of trial experience. Through her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, her writings, and legal actions she participated in at forced-birther advocacy firm Thomas Moore Society (TMS), She’s demonstrated that she will impose her own religious beliefs over the lives of women and their families if she gets into a position of power.

While the concept of the the Handmaid’s Tale’s Aunt Lydia becoming an judge might make a great Hollywood script, in real life, true-believer Sarah Pitlyk cannot be trusted to apply the law and legal precedents fairly and impartially to everyone who might come before the court.

  • She opposes reproductive rights, the Affordable Care Act and the legal right to abortion.
  • Wow! This is interesting!: She fought to allow businesses, landlords and banks the right to discriminate against women whose private health histories include abortion or birth control. What kind of application form would that involve?
  • Becoming El Salvador: She believes that frozen embryos should be conferred full “personhood” rights. State “personhood” laws are dangerous to womenalready responsible for several hundred women being investigated and  prosecuted for “negative” pregnancy outcomes, from violence, accidents, miscarriages and stillbirths.
  • Making stuff up: She believes that surrogacy should be illegal, limiting options for the 1 in 6 U.S. couples who face infertility, and for LGBTQ couples who want to become parents.
  • This guy: She defended David Daleiden, the guy who created those deceptively-edited videos which falsely claimed to “expose” Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of fetal tissue.
  • Doesn’t understand/believe in science: She’s ignored scientific consensus is that “[o]ral contraception [is] not associated with an increased long-term risk of death[,]” and in fact may produce a net benefit in overall life expectancy, Her employer TMS still spreads bizarre concept that birth control pills make women more likely to be the victim of violent assault and murder.” What?
  • Gagging doctors: Through her work for TMS, Pitlyk has defended the Trump Administration’s “Title X Gag Rule.” which denies federal funding to any health care provider that refers patients to abortion services.
  • Kavanaugh cheerleader: Oh, and she’s one of Kavanaugh’s biggest fans..

Halil S. Ozerden – just what we need- someone who always sides with corporate interests! – VOTE THURSDAY!

(from Alliance for Justice) “On June 24, 2019, President Trump nominated Halil S. Ozerden to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seat previously held by E. Grady Jolly in Mississippi. Ozerden’s record on the bench suggests a strong pro-corporate bias, as he has repeatedly sided with special interests over the rights of consumers and workers. His opinions also display a disrespect for civil rights protections, a predisposition to protect prosecutors and police officers even amid serious claims of misconduct, and a tendency to condemn criminal defendants to extremely harsh sentences.” Read their full report here.

Lawrence VanDyke – “NOT QUALIFIED” right-wing idealogue

“Those who want ‘Law, Not Politics’ should vote down judicial activist nominee VanDyke” ( Las Vegas Sun) – This nominee comes complete with a caustic editorial review against him discussing how he lost a Montana election for State Supreme Court Justice when voters noticed that his campaign funds were mostly from outside conservative organizations. “He is a darling of the Republican right wing, hired, it seems, exclusively because he wants to use his position to fight the federal government,” one Montana columnist wrote… Senators should take a cue from Montana voters and give VanDyke a thumbs-down. The courts need jurists whose decisions are based on the law, not on political or religious ideology. For those who don’t like judicial activists, VanDyke is not their man. He is a political activist looking for the votes of hypocrites.

Why did a “substantial majority of the ABA give him an unqualified rating? Well, in their words: “Mr. VanDyke’s accomplishments are offset by the assessments of interviewees that Mr. VanDyke is arrogant, lazy, an ideologue and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules. There was a theme that the nominee lacks humility, has an “entitlement” temperament, does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful.

Alliance for Justice says “NO” too!: Lawrence VanDyke does not belong on the federal bench. He has spent his career working to roll back civil rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental protections, and the rights of workers and consumers. He has few ties to the legal community in Nevada. He currently works at the DOJ’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division alongside outspoken climate change denier Jeffry Clark, helping lead Trump’s charge to eviscerate environmental protections. VanDyke was chosen for this position because he has a documented record of putting his own ultraconservative ideology over the law, and the Trump administration is confident that he will continue to do so if he’s confirmed.” Read the full report here.

While this sounds the “PERFECT” judicial nominee for Trump, he’s not the judge for us. Oh yeah, he does lots of crying into the microphone like Kavanaugh too.

Steven Menashi had people protesting in the hallways – VOTE THURSDAY!

Yeah, this one made everyone so nervous, that they’ve held him back until now, hoping we forget about him. We won’t. Call your senators to remind them what a problem he is to basic democracy. Here’s our take on him from last month.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to vociferously vote against Steven Menashi to any judicial position, much less one as powerful as the Second Circuit Court, where he can damage rights for large numbers of Americans.

Updates and Information

Update on Justin Walker: He’s in.

justin walker

Despite the ABA rating Justin Walker as not qualified, the Senate voted to confirm him in a 50-41 vote. (Vote summary here.)

Their latest champion for future judicial misconduct? Justin Walker, as per normal for this crew, a white, male, highly-partisan member of the far-right extremist Federalist Society, with plenty of years in a life-time seat to create anti-American mischief. Big items on his resume: relentless cheeleading for SCOTUS Brett Kavanaugh during his nomination period, making over 70 media interviews defending him and vocal opponent of unions, public education and health care. Walker not only has nowhere near the experience required to be any kind of judge, much less one with a lifetime seat, he had not even been admitted to practice in the Western District of Kentucky, the court to which he is being nominated to be a judge, until this year.

Deeper Dive on “unqualified nominees”: 

Instead of dealing with the huge stack of legislation piling up from the House, McConnell has been locking in hard-right extremists for the judicial bench who will pervert American justice far into the future, no matter who becomes president. Since Trump has come to power, McConnell has managed to ram through a least four LIFETIME federal judges who were rated “not qualified by the non-partisan American Bar Association (ABA).

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