Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding President Trump’s long list of unqualified and radical judicial nominees. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Later today, President Trump will give remarks from the White House on the judiciary, presumably to give himself one big pat on the back for the federal bench. He’s good at that. He likes doing that. He does that almost more than governing.
As a Senator, I have now worked with four separate administrations, Democrat and Republican, on the appointment of federal judges. I can say with perfect confidence that over the last three years, President Trump has nominated—and Senate Republicans have approved—the most unqualified and radical nominees in my time in this body.
The list of unqualified nominees is so long that for the sake of time, let’s only consider nominees for the past three weeks. Justin Walker, confirmed last week, Western District of Kentucky, has never tried a case and was deemed “unqualified” to serve as a judge by the American Bar Association. Sarah Pitlyk, under consideration for a seat in the Eastern District of Missouri, has never tried a case, examined a witness or picked a jury. Lawrence VanDyke is up after that. The ABA found that interviewees with experience with Mr. Van Dyke said he was “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”
How the heck do we put these people on the bench? Forget ideology for a moment. I understand that the president’s not going to nominate people whom might ideologically agree with me. But these people are abjectly unqualified based on their persons, who they are—how they behave in the courtroom, their knowledge, their experience. It’s a lifetime appointment. One of the most important appointments we have. And when the ABA finds that a nominee was “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in knowledge of the day-to-day practice including procedural rules” and we go ahead and nominate him? What is the matter here?
Even more damaging, President Trump has nominated judges who are way out on the very extremes of jurisprudence, right-wing ideologues whose views cut against the majority of Americans on nearly every issue. The judges he’s nominating disagree with a vast majority of Americans on issue after issue after issue. Whether it’s women’s health and the right of a woman to make her own medical decisions, whether it’s legal protections for LGBTQ Americans, whether it’s the right of workers and collective bargaining, whether it’s fair access to the ballot box and voting rights, whether it’s the most commonsense gun laws and environmental protections. These nominees have views way to the right of even the average Republican, let alone the average American. President Trump has nominated several judges who have been so extreme and overtly racist that my Republican colleagues, who are loath to oppose President Trump on anything, have actually opposed him, so those few nominees didn’t get on the bench.
This, M. President—the nomination of these hard right people, way over, hurting the average American, siding with big special interests over working Americans over and over and over again, finding every excuse to side with the rich and the powerful over the working class people—this is what President Trump calls an accomplishment?
I understand why the president and Leader McConnell try to celebrate judicial nominees; they hardly have a legislative accomplishment to name. But the truth is, when it comes to judicial picks, the president and Senate Republicans should be downright ashamed, ashamed, of their record. I yield the floor.