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Stacking the Judiciary Deck With (Unqualified) Jokers

Federal judges who are friendly to Trump are being appointed at a record pace. The sad thing is, many of these judges have been deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association (ABA).

The number of open Federal judgeships can be traced back to one man: #MoscowMitch McConnell. Since federal judges are approved by the Senate, McConnell has used his powerful position as Senate Majority Leader to first block those appointed by President Obama, thereby leaving these positions open, and rapidly approving Trump appointees, regardless of their qualifications .

So, what makes someone unqualified? Pretty much the same as any job; namely, lack of experience. Yet they are still being nominated, and appointed to lifetime positions simply because they share similar views with the Conservative majority. Yes, I said lifetime, which is leading Trump to choose younger members of the bench, thereby ensuring a right-wing judiciary for years to come.

Labeling potential federal judges as “not qualified” has led Republicans in the Senate to accuse the ABA of a having a liberal bias. They are ignoring the lack of judicial experience in these nominees in favor of stacking the deck in hopes of overturning such controversial decisions such as Roe v Wade, thereby achieving a long-held conservative dream of taking away a woman’s right to choose.

The evidence of this was obvious in the appointment of Lawrence J. C. VanDyke, whose “not qualified” status led to a tear-eyed appearance before Congress. The ABA stated, after they had conducted 60 interviews, that he could not treat LGBTQ litigants fairly and described him as “arrogant, lazy, an ideologue, and lacking in the knowledge of day-to-day practice including procedural rules.”

Considering this scathing review, and that of several other nominees, Republicans have threatened to abandon using ABA guidelines for judicial nominees.

While the impact of these lifetime appointments may not be immediately apparent, by putting pro-business, right-wing judges in such positions will result in long-lasting consequences.

Environmental protections put in place by President Obama to combat the dangers of global warming have been erased by executive orders from the Trump administration. Fortunately, the current judiciary has ruled many of these efforts to be unconstitutional, allowing many protections to remain in place.

However, with the likely future composition of the federal courts, these protections are in jeopardy, and future generations will pay the price of these short-sighted actions.

With yet another school shooting, the appointment of pro-NRA judges threatens the lives of innocent children as efforts to limit certain firearms and expand background checks fall to the wayside of right wing decisions.

As an educator with over 30 years’ experience, it has been only in the latter stages of my career that I have been required to attend active shooter training, which is marketed under the unassuming name, Safe Schools.

How is allowing the proliferation of firearms in any way “safe”?

And finally, one more judicial appointment has become available. Donald Trump’s sister, a federal judge herself, retired as she faced an ethics investigation regarding her taxes. I can only wonder what the qualifications of her replacement will be.

It is without a doubt that the current push for right wing judges, many of whom have been deemed “not qualified,” represents an extreme danger to future generations. And at this point, the damage cannot be undone.

CJ Waldron is an adjunct professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College and a contributing Writer for the Horry County Democratic Party where he covers a variety of Democratic issues, news, and commentary. Opinions and viewpoints expressed in his articles are solely his own.
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